Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Eve

I'm walking lopsided tonight.  And my back needs to be cracked because this little girl was riding my hip all day.  I even brought out my Moby wrap this afternoon to help me carry the load.  She's sick again.  Just running a fever and is highly irritable.

Poor girl.  And my poor, poor back.

(I took these photos yesterday.  A happier day for little Cordelia.)

So I have a major crick in my neck from doing everything with one hand today, and the holidays have been on my mind, appropriately since it's Thanksgiving Eve Eve.  And I'm nostalgic just like everyone else.  

We'll be here for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  No traveling because Alex is doing the Thanksgiving Day service as well as a service on Saturday.  He'll obviously be working on Christmas as well--Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after Christmas (it's a Sunday).

I remember in Vail how the entire local church "worked" on Christmas Eve.  Our church hosted 4 HUGE Christmas Eve services.  The 4pm Beaver Creek service was especially popular because President Ford would attend each year when he was in good health.  People literally sit on the floor for that service.  Hundreds of people in a relatively small chapel to celebrate Christmas and/or see President Ford.  And it took our entire congregation to serve at the 4 services--ushers, readers, greeters, musicians. It was fun because we were all in it together, and we all ate a cheap Chinese restaurant between the services together too.

I remember our first Christmas away from home vividly.  It was Alex's first year on the job and our first year not to visit our families for the holiday.  The kindest family invited us to their house for Christmas supper.  It was the most lovely evening with warmth and cheer shared with their family and several other "strays" for the holiday.  One young man, a vibrant South African Christian man was there as well.  We really enjoyed his funny stories of working on the ski mountain and hearing about the Bible study he started in his apartment complex.  That first Christmas on our own was difficult for me, well honestly they are all difficult for me, but being included in such an intimate family celebration was very touching.

Through the years we've been graciously invited to so many loving homes.  And I'm more than thankful for all the kind invitations.  This year for Thanksgiving we will share our meal with my dear old friend Jen and her extended family.  What a blessing to be with my dearest friend while we're away from our loved ones.

Of course, now we're growing into our own family.  Two kids will do that to you pretty fast!  And we're starting our own traditions.  I find that when I get overly nostolgic and lonely this time of year, empty days only make it worse.  So I start to plan and surround myself with friends.  

Last year we hosted a "Working Orphans Supper" for all the church employees and volunteers that work all the Christmas Eve services.  They host a service, come over for supper for about 45 minutes, and then quickly head back to prepare for the next service.  They literally eat and run.  I didn't even speak with everyone last year.  And I plan on doing it again.  Because 1) I have to eat dinner anyway 2) the idea of them not eating Christmas Eve dinner is depressing to me 3) I don't have to sit home alone 4) they compliment me on my food and that makes me feel SO good.

It's a complicated balance for clergy people and their families.  The holidays are a fantastic celebration of God.  The church is full of life and people and good news.  But for those behind the scenes, there's still an undercurrent of work involved.  I can't speak for all pastor wives because I know there are some very holy ones out there :-), but for me, it's an emotionally complicated time of year.

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!
(I hear I'm going to be having some fried turkey on Thursday.  Yum!  And, Go Cowboys!)


Anonymous said...

Oh Emily, I love reading your blog and thereby, some of your digested thoughts ;) I love learning from you about the reality of life as the wife of a Rector, and particularly since I know and love you and your family so much!

I was just talking with a friend here, who's actually in seminary but also married to an Episcopal priest, and is expecting in early December... and she was saying how the Christian holidays are actually quite lonely for her with her husband being so busy and needed, and that it's hard to be away from family... They spent last Thanksgiving having a glass of wine and something like macaroni and cheese on their back porch because no one thought to invite them and they were too busy with the service to be able to host.

I think it's helpful to know these elements of life as a rector's wife before my husband gets ordained, and I hope that knowing other wonderful women in similar situations will be a comfort and encouragement - and that we can learn from one another! I hope Alex finds time to rest over these holidays, and that you find plenty of time to be with others :) I also hope that Eden's baptism isn't too much additional stress for him!

Love you all very much, and see you pretty soon!
Happy Thanksgiving! :)

glitzee76 said...

Emily, I think it's so important and special to create your own holiday traditions. I know it's hard to not be able to go home. Eight years ago, I had a new job in Macon, Ga. and not enough vacation time to go home for the holidays. I was so lucky to have a coworker invite me up to the mountains with her family that year. I will never forget it. This year, Tim and I are staying in Atlanta because I can't travel. I plan to decorate and bake and sing carols, just like I would if I were at home.

Thinking of you guys!

Alex and Emily said...


as I'm sure it's true with all professions, it's so encouraging to have people who can relate to you and your unique schedule and demands and challenges. The more we can support each other, the better! (And we can't wait for little Eden's baptism. What a blessing that will be for everyone!)

Glitz, thanks for the encouragement! We will miss you this year and are so excited to meet our new baby nephew soon.

Molly said...

We miss you in Dallas but I know you will have a great time with Jen. What a blessing to have so many good friends in the DC area to be there for and with you.

Dorry said...

I hope y'all have had a very Happy Thanksgiving, Em! Holidays are always a nostalgic time of year for me, too - sometimes even when I'm at home. I still have emotional moments...memories of being a kid when my parents were married, etc. Every year is different now. Last year, Billy and I were in Belize. Today, we were over at Jenna's with her husband and their kids, then to Billy's mom's house for dessert. It's the 1st Thanksgiving without his dad which is difficult.

I'm sending you a big dose of Dallas love and I really enjoyed this post. I love that you recognize what makes you happy/sad and plan life accordingly by reaching out to others and surrounding yourself with friends.

It doesn't surprise me, but I think it's so cool that y'all host the families from the church on Christmas Eve. Sounds like a huge blessing and positive time for everyone involved.

I'm thankful that you are still in my life after all these years!


The Smiths in NYC said...

I hear you!! I have to keep so busy for Thanksgiving because Jake is gone most of the week getting the homeless dinner ready, it is a strange mix for sure.