Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidays

Just the Two of Us—And All the Fixins!

This post is brought to you by Target, however, all the opinions & thoughts are ally’s~~follow along with #MyKindofHoliday #mkoh

About 5 years ago, I started doing yoga.  I had this bummer L4 & L5 and didn’t want back surgery, so I sought some alternative modes of treatment including taking up yoga.  I can honestly say that besides having a great back now and no problems {***yoga at least 5x a week!***), my life has been transformed in so many other ways because of my time on the mat~~mind, spirit and soul.  When I began this journey, I knew I needed great equipment, so my first question was~~what do I need!  Thank goodness for Target because that’s where I found really cool things like my yoga socks (yes, your feet get chilly sometimes), my mat, mat cleaner, and other essentials for beginning this transformation!

One of the important things that has really sunk in with my yoga practice is the idea of ‘attachment’ and how this is one of the root causes of ‘pain and suffering’ in life~~and that leads me to share this blog post with you~~maybe some of you will identify, maybe some of you won’t, but extract from it the snippets of thought that can help you transform your life for the better~~peace & nameste & love~~ally

Like the changing colors of the leaves during Fall, the life-cycle of holidays change as time passes—some of the changes are subtle and Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidayskeep up with the trends, a new dish is served, the turkey is deep fried and not baked or we go to Uncle Louie’s house instead of Auntie Em’s—however, some of the changes are really different, as if a new prototype is being used for the holiday.  Such is the case with Ben and me this Thanksgiving—a new template is being created as we launch into Thanksgiving and the holiday season. Past Thanksgivings, nearly 35 of them, have been most always, no really always, at our home. {Click any Picture to come into our home, the holidays, a great symphony of music!}

An entourage of folks would come—when our children were young, it was mostly family—our siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  I’d always spend tons of time creating a new tablescape theme, and all of this was made so easy and convenient with the endless possibilities I would find at Target! . While I was working and designing the special table, the televisions would be blaring, and the Macy’s Parade was the highlight—this for me was the launching of the holiday season!  While we didn’t all live in the same town, we were close enough, within about 3 hours’ driving distance, to gather under one roof and sit at several tables with the virtual buffet of delectable foods that had been prepared over days on the buffet table—everyone couldn’t wait to dig in usually in early afternoon.

Happy chatter ensued, debates on politics and worldJust the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidays events or other interesting topics, the kids would be playing outside in the cool brisk autumn air, leftovers would adorn the kitchen counters as food grazers and kids continued to munch watching football, playing corn hole, basketball or board games.  There was no structure.  There were no plans.  Everything fell into place after the magical turkey, dressing, gravy and all the fixins were served! By about 9 pm, I was usually totally exhausted.  My loving work as a ‘happy-maker’ was done—we’d made lots of family happy. We’d officially crossed the threshold for the next big bash and even more work—Christmas!  As the kids got older, went off to college and started defining themselves as ‘almost adults’ yes, they still came home for Thanksgiving.

Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of HolidaysSometimes they brought friends—even a special squeeze or buddies who maybe couldn’t get to their homes.  Yet on other occasions, there was an entire Division 1 basketball team with trainers and coaches who pulled up to the house in a Sunway traveling bus.  That was one of the years our youngest son, Nicholas, who played ball at The College of William & Mary invited all of them to our house.  The team was playing The College of Charleston on Friday after Thanksgiving and as they traveled from Williamsburg, VA to SC, they took a slight detour on Thursday to our little fishing village so the team could enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving feast!

As these towering athletes, most all 6’5” and taller, filed off the bus, we were ready with an Army of food—imagine the time and work that went into preparation for about 20 of them and our normal other crowd of family and friends—at least 45 or 50.  It was a well-oiled machine on the carport level where big pots of oil were heating for frying turkeys—yes, that year we prepared 9 turkeys in a variety of ways—this was the year of marathon cooking weeks in advance and harnessing a group of sous chefs to pull off this special Thanksgiving.

And, it was fabulous—the chatter, the laughter, the ‘horse’ basketball being played, the smack down talking about the next day’s game, shouting and screaming during the televised football games—there was an exuberance and energy that didn’t subside until those boys filed back on that big Sunway bus and traveled the 60 miles south to Charleston—I just know there was symphonic snoring as these were tired, albeit well-fed, athletes ready for facing an NCAA powerhouse!

Now in 2013 our kids are all grown—yes, they’re official real ‘adults’—income-earning, tax-paying, in their 30s, 40s and even 50s with Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidaystheir own children, our grandchildren—five of them ranging in age from 21 to 2 and another expected in the next few weeks.

Like a handful of wild flower seeds thrown into a field, we are all scattered geographically—no longer just a few driving hours apart but greater distances making that special Thursday more challenging—sometimes impossible.  Our married children have their extended families now—those that aren’t married have significant others and are establishing traditions of their own for this Thanksgiving holiday—so, Ben and I are on the threshold of a new frontier.

We are deciding what the ‘two of us’—who started this life journey so many decades ago as just two—are going to do for this Thanksgiving. And, it will, no doubt, be a magic carpet ride of exhilaration—maybe a driving adventure and stop at Cracker Barrel, a fine dinner served at the Four Seasons, or a small baked turkey breast and some delicious sides and a table for two.  Whatever it is, we will toast ***clink clink*** our many blessings knowing that we are grateful—for little things, like less dishes to do! Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidays

Life has come full circle—we are excited that our family has morphed into a huge clan—albeit, one that no longer has the luxury, or possibly the good fortune **tsk tsk**, of living closely and sharing all the holidays, and sometimes wrenching drama, together—we are now a clan that has smaller close-knit ‘tribes’—and each of these tribes holds in their destiny the joys of creating new prototypes for holidays like Thanksgiving—whatever that may be.

Yes, there are those rare and exceptional years when we may all be able to once again gather as one clan, hopefully not on the heels of a funeral—but, until then, we bask in the elation of knowing that we can show up on many doorsteps across the country, casserole in hand, a good bottle of wine, and a special kitchen gift for our hosts~~this year it’s some cool ‘Batik Kitchen Towels’ (#MyKindOfHoliday) that reflect my Bohemian spirit!  I’m sure that our  warm, close knit tribe will embrace Mama Ally and Pop as we pass the gauntlet.

The green leaves on the big sturdy trees are now turning Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidaysdifferent colors like the holiday traditions of our small family tribes and every-growing and expanding clan.  Our time of service, creating memories, taking lots of pictures, Just the Two of Us—The Changing Face of Holidaysdoing the days and weeks of prep work, being the head cheese ‘happy-makers’, to the Thanksgiving holiday is now officially the responsibility of others—yes, well-earned and welcomed knowing that we’ve created the delicious cornerstone that they’ll carry on as they see fit.   No denying, however, that there are floods of challenging emotions that surround this new chapter in our life—I suppose the best word is ‘happisad’.

Yet, we know that hanging on to the past, not letting go, and not embracing with versatility, open eyes, and reality thinking the present only serves to rob us of what lies ahead that can bring untold ‘joyteers’.  Pop and Mama Ally will be trekking along for more adventures of their own~~setting the bar high for our clan of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren yet to come!

This post is brought to you by Target, however, all the opinions & thoughts are ally’s~~follow along with #MyKindofHoliday #mkoh.

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  1. Ally, I loved your reflective tone in this piece — the voice of a woman who has witnessed (and lived through) changes and views them as part of the ongoing progression of life. Hadn’t thought about attachment as a source of suffering, but it makes sense. Attachment clings; love lets go. Change is inevitable, but we can choose to love our way through it. xo

    1. Only my Kimmeee can say the most prolific words…’attachment clings’ and ‘love lets go’…oh, how I cherish those words, my love! xoxo And, yes, we love our way through change <3

  2. How sweet. It was great reading into your life. You are truly blessed… and reading parts of it brought a tear to my eye. Happy Thanksgiving to you & Ben. Now you know, if you end up in Nashville my door is always open! And I’ll be cooking up a feast!! xoxo

    1. Oh, you honeybunch!! If we’re in your neckuvthewoods, you bet we’ll be knockin’, and I KNOW that there will be a boholicious feast!! xox love you!

  3. Ally,
    Such a beautiful writing with visuals, truly well said, so well, it brought tears to my eyes. I love you! You are one of the most well rounded, fun loving, live life to the fullest in your own style that I know. Gooooooo Ally, it is a pleasure to call you “my friend”. I wish for you and your family the happiest holiday season ever!!

    1. Oh, Ree! I love you, too! And, I mean that from the bottom of my heart! Thank you, and for you and yours, the most fabulous holiday…as one of my good friends said ‘attachment clings’ and ‘love lets go’…so true as we get older…xoxox

  4. Yoga has changed my life, too. Ally, I applaud you for your ever-positive love of life and for accepting each transition as an adventure and opportunity to expand your boho horizons!

    1. Thank you, Priscilla…yoga is the foundation of my daily living, too…can’t imagine life w/o it…yes, transition is something we have to embrace and look at all the wonderful things out there for us xox ~~ally

  5. Beautifully written, Ally. Here’s wishing you and all your clans happy Thanksgivings wherever you may be.

    1. Thank you, precious Jen! Sending you lots of love and missing you! xoxo

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