Thursday, November 27, 2008


One Thanksgiving morning my cousins and I engaged in a debate over the importance of eating breakfast. I had slept over at my cousin Connie's house, and, as our central preoccupation involved the quantity of food we would be able to consume at the afternoon feast, we were concerned with how eating breakfast would impact our ability to gorge ourselves later. It was determined that, contrary to our gut feeling, eating breakfast would actually enable us to eat more of our Thanksgiving dinner, because the morning meal would stretch our stomachs. Fasting would only hinder our gestational goals.

Remembering this debate, I am struck by how, as children, we approached Thanksgiving with the sole goal of becoming full. How we approached the day with the will and desire to feast on the things that were offered us. As an adult, my approach to Thanksgiving has changed. Achieving fullness takes a back seat to food preparation, calorie counting, and making polite conversation with company.

I'm glad that Thanksgiving is more than just a day to consume vast quantities of food. But still, I wonder if there aren't lessons to learn from my childhood approach to the day. Lessons like deprivation only promotes deprivation. Lessons like viewing the table set before you as abundant and enough to satisfy. Lessons like the only way to achieve fullness is to partake of the things that are offered to you here, now, today.

The difference between feast and famine is so often perception. The bounty of our table is so easily diminished when we focus our gaze on our neighbor's spread or await in vain the more elegant entrees that will be served next year. The difference between living an empty or a full life depends less on what our life contains and more on our attitude toward and about those things.

My table is so full. And I hope to approach it in the same eager way my childhood self approached the Thanksgiving table. So I'll loosen my belt, take an extra helping of mashed potatoes, and squeeze in that third piece of pumpkin pie. But first, I've got to eat breakfast...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Week in Review

On Halloween, Henry absolutely refused to wear his costume. This was about the closest we got to having him wear it - and he cried and screamed for the whole 30 seconds it was on. He didn't let not donning a costume stop him from trick-or-treating though. The basic concept of receiving free candy from complete strangers really appealed to Henry.

After trick-or-treating, we headed over to an Obama rally held at a nearby park (sorry, Dad). Although you can't tell, the man at the podium next to the white rectangular teleprompter really is Obama.

This is Henry and I at the rally. Henry is definitely not looking too excited to be there. In fact, as we were driving to the park, we told Henry we were going to see Barack Obama and he said, "No, John McCain!"

This is how I found Henry at 6 a.m. this morning. I could hear him dragging the chair around and knew he was up to something. This is a new move he's figured out - I've had to start hiding the candy and Oreos on the top shelf of our pantry.

This is where I found Henry at 11 am this morning. I think the time change has really thrown him off, because he has refused to nap all week. I think the lack of sleep must have finally caught up with him - I don't think he moved from this position for over 2 hours.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

One of these things is not like the other (?) (!)

Recently I heard a poem on NPR written by Elizabeth Bishop that I really liked. I checked out her anthology at the library and had Bubba read the poem as well, convinced that he too would like it. To my dismay, he not only disliked it, he strongly disliked it. He thought it was the most depressing, awful thing he had ever read. This awful poem, titled "Breakfast Song", reads:

My love, my saving grace,
your eyes are awfully blue.
I kiss your funny face,
your coffee-flavored mouth.
Last night I slept with you.
Today I love you so
how can I bear to go
(as soon I must, I know)
to bed with ugly death
in that cold, filthy place,
to sleep there without you,
without the easy breath
and nightlong, limblong warmth
I've grown accustomed to?
—Nobody wants to die;
tell me it is a lie!
But no, I know it's true.
It's just the common case;
there's nothing one can do.
My love, my saving grace,
your eyes are awfully blue
early and instant blue.

Okay. I'll give him that it may be depressing. But the funny thing is, he recently purchased a song on iTunes that seems strangely similar in tone to this poem. The lyrics, in part, are:

She says "If I leave before you, darling
Don't you waste me in the ground"
I lay smiling like our sleeping children
One of us will die inside these arms
Eyes wide open, naked as we came
One will spread our ashes round the yard

My question is: is there a material difference between these two? Is it reasonable for Bubba to despise one and cling to the other?

And, more importantly, who do you think is right?