Life of Liz

Authentic life … part 1

In Authentic Life, Out of the Comfort Zone, Punishment, The Countdown begins on November 27, 2012 at 7:33 am

Authentic life … part 1

Thanksgiving — Tuesday night brought a sense of ‘the calm before the storm’.  Henry’s mom arrived, followed by our oldest (Elizabeth).  Thanksgiving marks the first time since we’ve been a Dd couple that we’ve had relatives visit and stay with us.  It was just about 7 months ago, right before we started our new dynamic that I had a very public meltdown in front of not only his mother, but also my parents, my grandma, my sister, his sister and his mom’s best friends.  Henry thought it might be beneficial to write about that event as a way to discourage any type of repeats this week.

Let me set the stage … when our oldest left for college last year it was so much harder than I would have anticipated.  Jump ahead to our 2nd daughter’s (Gracie) high school graduation (which is the event that brought all of the relatives to our house).   Gracie would be reporting to her university 2 days after the ceremony and SHE was not handling it well at all.  She was equally Impossible, Rebellious, Pouty and Heartbroken during the preceding 6 weeks.   Truthfully, she was acting the part of an out of control 2 year old who had been denied the longed for piece of candy.  Enter the above mentioned 8 relatives into our home and what ensued was not our family’s finest hour.  In fact, over the course of the 4 days we spent together … The F word was used.  A plate was broken.  Doors were slammed.  Gracie got drunk and needed to be driven home (and NO we do not permit our kids –all under 21– to drink).  None of this was done behind closed doors. By the time we dropped Gracie off at her dorm room 2 days later, I actually was somewhat relieved!  (Ha, that lasted about 60 second).

It was just a few weeks after the ‘event’ that H and I got serious about our relationship.  We’ve joked a few times about how different and/or sore I would have been if we would have been a couple back then.

So much has changed in the last 6 months.  Thankfully …

I love Thanksgiving.  Correction, I love the imaginary Thanksgiving that is never achieved.

When I was growing up my mom demanded everyone is our home support her vision of the perfect holiday.  She would not permit anyone to actually help her.  No, she would instead require her kids to be on standby – typically that meant sitting and watching her in her efforts.  This also meant you could not be in the TV room or in your bedroom.  You couldn’t go outside and ride your bike or play tag. I ended up dreading Thanksgiving and vowed to make changes when I controlled the dinner with MY family.

And control things I did!  As a young mom I was eager to have my girls help with the preparation and happy to engage Henry into his share of the workload.  I can’t say it was any better than my own childhood – but it was different.  Instead of demanding my family stand at attention as my mom had done, I put my family to work and then followed behind them and re-did their tasks.  By the time we sat down to dinner I am sure all of my workers felt as though they were rode hard and put away wet!

I had a paradigm shift last year when Elizabeth came home for Thanksgiving after being at school for 3 months.  Suddenly it was more important to me that she enjoy her day with us and not so much about the appearance of a perfect event.  It was a lovely day and she commented several times how much she enjoyed herself.

Here is a bird’s eye view of the contrast:

Past:  8:00 am Thanksgiving morning … Henry would have been jolted out of bed by my demands of “I need help”

Today: I greeted Henry with a cup of coffee and then had a very pleasant conversation with my mother in law as we scoured the Black Friday advertisements.


Past: I would have insisted the TV be tuned into the Macy’s Parade because that would help create the Thanksgiving scene in my head of what a happy family would do; the kids would complain, Henry would make “football is on” overtures and no one would be in the family room.

Today:  I made no mention of what should be on TV … but glanced into the family room to see 3 kids enjoying the Macy’s Parade and overheard Henry say “10 more minutes and we switch to football”

Past:  Turkey time = A stressed out Mom with a brood of stressed out kids and a husband walking on eggshells. 

Today:  Tranquility and anticipation of a relaxing meal shared with family.

Next up … Authentic life part 2 ….presenting the appearance of success while the truth of failure lurked beneath the surface.  

  1. Jeez, yet another blog to follow! I’m impressed so far with your willingness to take the Red Pill.

  2. Sounds like you had an awesome holiday, Liz. I do most of the prep in advance come the day I only have to open the oven & pop stuff in at the proper intervals, that’s so I can spend as much time with the family as possible.

    We didn’t have family things when I was growing up & I was determined to as an adult, and did much as your past….and I didn’t enjoy it either. It’s great when we can find our stride. I’m glad you found yours!

    • Hi June – I have started doing the exact same thing (doing a lot of prep the night before). It does make the actual day so much more enjoyable! It’s funny how we grow into women and decided to “do it right” only to spend many years doing it wrong! I am glad you’ve hit your stride. Your family is lucky too! xoxo Liz

  3. I wonder how many of us can identify with all of this?! I know I try to do everything and end up getting so stressed that I can’t enjoy the celebration myself! I am glad you had a lovely and relaxed holiday – wish we had thanksgiving here, but yes, I do know the story of the Pilgrim Fathers (we had one leave from the next village and he was one of the very first in America and lots of people come over and visit his house), it’s just that sometimes I feel I’m missing out on a holiday…. All I can say is “Well done you for all the changes you have achieved in such a short time! Hugs, Ami

  4. Glad for all the improvement of this holiday over past holidays. Life is so much easier isn’t it when we change OUR attitude.

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