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!


janel said...

What a beautiful entry. The only thing that would improve it would be a picture of your full tummy (pregnancy-full)??? Or at least another of Juno and boyfriend.

Kimberlee said...

I am always aware of the lessons I learn from the wisdom of children. But I guess we can learn from our own memories of ourselves as children. Were we really smarter when we were kids? There is a cool poem about how much better it would be to be born really old and then progress through life and die an innocent child.

Marci said...

I would have looked to the feast of Thanksgiving with wider eyes about a month ago when the coming baby wasn't encroching (sp?) on my stomach. Now I load up my plate, three bites later I'm stuffed, and 1 hour later I', hungry.

That said, as a child I don't remember being to concerned with the food, as my grandma's turkey always seemed a little dry. I looked forward to a day of playing with cousins, I didn't have to worry about polite conversation as it came naturally back then.

Stacy and Mike said...

I love this post, especially as we approach the Holiday that sometimes seems to cancel this Holiday out. Black Friday is proof that we have an unsatiable desire for more. As soon as that turkey is digesting the flipping through the ads begins even though the prayer mentioned all the things we are thankful for... we still want more.