The First Thanksgiving

November 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Family Ties | Leave a comment
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This year I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time.  Last year at this time my parents were still living in the house that I grew up in and I was newly married.  What a difference a year can make.

Since moving into my new apartment, I’ve had mixed feelings about the decision I made.  While I still love the physical space and know it is a step up from my previous apartment, I have not fallen in love with the neighborhood, and like all apartments, there are some imperfections that I have to live with.  Still I know it is a pretty big step up for me, and hosting Thanksgiving reaffirms my decision to move here.  All in all, I have found a home, no matter how temporary it may be, that is a place I can welcome family.

Just before Thanksgiving, my husband and I finished furnishing our apartment.  One of the things I had been looking forward to in moving out was buying what I describe as adult furniture.  My old apartment was in an attic, and my dog had been a puppy at the time, so I was buying furniture for a unique space and items that I didn’t care if the dog destroyed, so when we moved, we took basically nothing with us.  My husband’s grandmother gave us her beautiful bedroom set, his sister her mattress, and his cousin the bed frame, but beyond that, we had to buy everything, and finding the right item proved to be a challenge.  I really wanted a deep red couch, and shopped for a long time to find one and had no luck.  But we still bought a beautiful couch and I am updating my vision for my home to fit this.

The last item we had to buy was a kitchen table.  There is something about the kitchen table that, to me, solidifies home. I can remember many a dinner at my parents’ kitchen table, each sitting in the same seats every day for twenty years.  Though the kitchen went through renovations, our seemingly assigned seats always remained the same.  I will be curious to see how my kitchen table plays a role in how my family evolves.  I’ll be interested to see what kinds of traditions and routines my family develops through all of the changes yet to come.

Hosting Thanksgiving was a lot of work.  It’s almost hard to step away from that to see just how well everything worked out, but I know it turned out really well with both sides of the family happy to help and happy to be together.

Thanksgiving is about togetherness, and I’m thankful I have a home where my families feel welcome.

Learning How to Argue Effectively

May 5, 2013 at 11:33 am | Posted in Family Ties, Friends Then and Now, Relationship Woes | 1 Comment
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Right about now, any of my good friends who are reading this are probably laughing at the subject of this post, and for good reason.  I’ve never been one to hide or hold back my emotions, no matter what the setting.  The only way I know how to not burst out with emotion when something happens, is to leave the situation.  I have gotten crap for both approaches.  My friends would likely prefer that I just suck it up, that I just not take it personally, so we could just move on.  That’s something I haven’t learned yet.  I can take a joke, but the moment I feel I have been disrespected, a switch goes off and it is on.

So clearly I have some growing to do in this area, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned anything from my experiences.

I have learned that it’s okay to go to bed angry.  I’ve always been told the opposite, but I often find that if I go to bed angry, things are usually better in the morning.  Maybe I was arguing because I was tired or drunk. Maybe we’re just talking in circles getting nowhere.  Whatever the situation a good night’s sleep helps me find clarity.

I have learned to try to see things from the other person’s perspective, even when I feel I’m not being heard.  If I take a step back and see it from their perspective beforehand, it may keep a fight from starting.

I have learned that most arguments are stress related.  It’s very easy to take things out on the people closest to you.  Relationships alone are hard, and when things in life are not going smoothly or as planned, arguments can happen.

I’ve learned that anger is blinding.  When you are angry, you say things you don’t mean.  You say things to hurt.  You say them because you hurt.  Maybe you aren’t even really angry.  Maybe you are just hurt, and you want that other person to feel how hurt you are.

So while I’ve learned some things, I haven’t quite mastered the art of arguing effectively, arguing to resolution.  But maybe that’s not the point.  I’m not a lawyer, but I will continue to have arguments, I know.  But if I can take a pause, maybe I can thwart a couple of arguments along the way.

Saying Goodbye to My Childhood Home

April 27, 2013 at 9:22 am | Posted in Family Ties, Life and Living | Leave a comment
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It was the clear nail polish that brought me to my knees.  It must have been under that radiator for ten years, back when this was my bedroom, back when this was my home.  As I sit there in the empty room knowing that this would be the last time I would ever cry on that floor, the memories come flooding back to me.

Before my parents had moved there, back when I was too young to remember, I didn’t have my own bedroom.  My parents had an apartment in the Bronx and they moved for a better life and more space.  I would finally have my own room, my own space, but I would have to start my short life over.  This new home would become my stability.  This home would always keep me safe.

Over the years, this house, my bedroom, survived many of my phases.  I remember the nights that my brother and I would knock on the wall we shared together to communicate.  I remember decorating my walls with Absolut and Got Milk ads ripped from magazines.  I remember painting my nails every night to match my outfit.  I remember when I had my parents buy me an art desk.  I remember burying my hamsters in the front yard.  I remember taping songs off the radio.  I remember writing most of my poetry in my room, at my desk.  I remember late night phone calls with boys as I lay in bed, listening to The Cardigans and Sophie B Hawkins.   I remember the glow-in-the-dark stars I had on my ceiling, that were basically useless since I only saw them at night when my glasses were off and they were all fuzzy.  I remember the sound of my dad leaving for work in the morning as that was my signal to get up for school.  I remember my witchcraft phase, my candle phase, my incense phase.  I remember dancing to Paula Abdul on the lawn.  I remember going out on to my roof through my window (sorry Mom and Dad — that was true).  I remember friends driving by, honking their horns.  I remember sneaking out the back door only to be caught coming in the front door. I remember it all.  This was my home from age 4 until now, and even though I haven’t lived there in six years, it was still my home when I had to finally say good bye.

And I try to be strong, because I know it’s just a material thing, but that home holds so many memories.  Living there made me who I am in so many ways.  My memory isn’t really that good and having that tangible place has helped me to hold on.

But it is time to let go of the tangible and let it live in my memory.  It is the end of an era that I have to cope with.  No longer do I have that place I can run to when everything is wrong in the world.  I have to push forward.  If I live a full life, this home will only be the first fraction of my existence and another home will be born at some point.  In the grand scheme of life, I will remember this house fondly as my first home.  But it no longer exists anymore.  Only in my memory.

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