Thanksgiving is a short day behind us here in America, and I'm hopeful that amidst our chaotic daily lives, we were and are able to take a moment to truly ruminate on all that we have to be thankful for in our lives, spending the time holding our loved ones close. This sounds cliche, of course, because it IS Thanks-giving, and what else would one purport to do on Thanksgiving, but, well, give thanks for all we have?
It's cheerfully taught to us as youngsters in school that Thanksgiving is supposed to be all about feeling grateful, making a hand turkey and heading home to eat a feast surrounded by the warmth of family and friends. In adulthood, the holiday seems to become more about accommodating family (sometimes leaving our own wishes and comfort by the wayside to accomplish such), playing the perfect host or guest ("what would Martha Stewart do?" is now replaced with: must consult Pinterest!), and already contemplating purchasing Christmas gifts (or, insert your particular December holiday here: _____) before the pumpkin pie is even served. It can, of course, easily become hard to see the meaning of the holidays with so many Black Friday (or, even, White Thursday) sales pushing us to actively look forward, rather than to simply be still.
In short, it feels to me like we're too often one step ahead of ourselves. One fairly damaging, failing-to-be-IN-the-moment when we're actually in the moment step, in my opinion.
Evidence of this looms but a short glance out my kitchen window as I wash dishes and gaze upon the Santa flag already hanging outside my neighbor's house. Every holiday, like literal clockwork, holiday flags or decorations are taken down the instant the holiday is technically "over." Sometimes, still with hours to go of the holiday. Halloween replaced withT hanksgiving, Thanksgiving replaced with Christmas, Christmas replaced with Valentine's Day. Pumpkins and Christmas trees strewn by the roadside for trash pickup whilst the celebration on the particular season still abounds in many hearts and households.
This bothers me. It always has. The fierce allegiance to the calendar and to the clock that certain people feel guides their decorations often leaves me feeling quizzical. That said, it is wholly each person's prerogative to decorate as they feel so moved. This isn't by any means a post denouncing timely-decorators or early un-decorators. I'm as much a stickler for things needing to be precise and proper as anyone. (Please, please trust me on that.)
I also believe that within that structure falls that which calendars and clocks cannot count: emotions, warmth, moments & the making of memories. It always feels somewhat false to me when one who decorates so enthusiastically can also pack it away instantaneously when Midnight hits. To each their own, completely; but, to me, I have to wonder if it speaks to a larger dynamic, a bigger dilemma: Are we actually living IN the moment, or staging the perfect postcard image of the moment, rather than being present in that moment we've so wonderfully decorated?
Especially now that I have a child, I'm ever aware that what used to feel so urgent, can quite frankly just wait. Thanksgiving decorations will be replaced with Christmas ones after this happy blur of a little man is done pulling me to the ground to play with his newly-acquired birthday toys. And, while I'm down there, I'll catch a glimpse of the balloons from his birthday still dancing against the ceiling in the kitchen, and I'll smile.
Holidays and special days, they may linger as long or as short as we like, in the most important places: our hearts. And, if they also happen to linger for others to see in the form of scarecrows and wreaths, so be it. Just so long as we're IN those moments, present, feeling it all, rather than concerned about the next special day, whilst losing the invaluable time you're in right at this very moment.