I was talking to my mom the other day about life, and how it doesn’t always turn out the way we planned. She talked about being thankful for what we do have and looking at our lives in a different way. She referenced the film Under the Tuscan Sun. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I am about to spoil the ending, but then again, it came out in 2003 so you really have no excuse. It is based on the book of the same name, which is a memoir. Of course, the film has been dramatized to be more interesting on screen and it is quite different from the book. You should read the book anyway, and then go to Tuscany! Also, the book is full of recipes.
Frances, the main character, buys a villa in Tuscany after learning of her husband’s affair and impending fatherhood, and getting a divorce. She works hard to restore this old villa into the home she wants, and meets all manner of characters along the way. Her pregnant friend winds up moving to Tuscany as well to live with Frances and raise her baby. Frances sort of mentors a young couple and they eventually have their wedding on her property. During the wedding reception she asks her friend, Martini, what he thinks. The conversation goes:
Martini: I think you got your wish.
Frances: My wish?
Martini: That day we looked for your snake, you said to me that you wanted there to be a wedding here.
Martini: And you said you wanted there to be a family here.
Frances: …you’re right. I got my wish. I got everything that I asked for.
Frances wanted these things for herself. She wanted the wedding to be her wedding, and the family to be her husband and child. She got a wedding in her home. A beautiful wedding celebrating the love of two young people. Her friend, and friend’s baby, moved in with her. She now had a family living in her home. She made many friends that she could cook for; a different sort of family. Frances got her wishes. Maybe they didn’t come wrapped the way she planned, but she finally was able to see that she did get what she wished for, and she was able to be thankful for those things in her life.
This is what my mom is trying to do in her own life: look at all the things she has to be thankful for even if they aren’t exactly the way she wanted them.
This can be a very difficult thing to do. My life has not gone the way I planned. Sometimes it feels like I have nothing the way I wanted it. Like my life is quite the opposite. It’s not fair and I don’t like it. But I do have so much to be thankful for.
I am thankful for my family and close friends that allow me to feed them my cooking triumphs and experiments. (I am so thankful that I got up at 6:30 this morning to prepare my 25-pound turkey!) They make me laugh constantly and make me feel so loved. I am thankful that those people have been my support system for the last year and ten months. I am thankful that I know they will be in my life forever and will continue to enrich it.
I am thankful that I am able to support myself financially and live independently. I am thankful that I was able to enroll in culinary school and continue my education in a very specific area that I am passionate about.
I am thankful that my friends who do have children allow me to shower them with gifts and be a part of their lives. I still want my own husband and children, but for now I am thankful that I am learning about parenthood from some of the best parents around. I am thankful to be called “Aunt Sarah” and “Godmother Sarah”. I am thankful for all the knowledge I am gaining about children through them so that I will be even more prepared when it is finally my turn.
I am thankful for the men in my life who love me and who loved my husband. I am thankful that I can lean on them when I feel I need a man.
I am thankful that my friends’ lives have continued to grow and flourish. I am thankful that they are getting what they want out of life. I am thankful that when they come to bumps in the road they don’t give up. They continue after what they desire, and set a great example for me and others.
I am thankful for my two cats who do not fit the typical cat stereotypes. They love to play, be pet, and cuddle. I am thankful that it sometimes feels like they know when I need some extra cuddle time. I must sound like a crazy cat lady, but I think having living things in my home that rely on me and seem to love me makes my life that much better and a little less lonely.
I am thankful that I live in a country and state where I don’t have to go without. I am thankful that I have everything I need and want right at my fingertips.
Even though I sometimes get angry and feel I have been cheated, I know I have so much to be thankful for in my life. I don’t often look at things this way, but I am going to start trying to be in this mindset more often.
Take a moment today, yes in the midst of all the hectic preparing and cooking, to reflect on your own life and what you have to be thankful for. Then take a moment to think about all the tables that won’t be full tonight. People missing loved ones on such a family-oriented holiday. This post has some great ideas of what you can do for others this holiday season.
Above all, take some time to really show your family and friends how much you love them. A hug or a kiss, or just being present and engaging.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of family, fun, and great food!