It is not easy to emerge from episodes of heartache thinking clearly. Each tender memory can return unannounced with graceless vengeance in spite of one’s strictest resolve. I am not always adept at managing my corporeal self with its quiet anguish.
And so I have anticipated Thanksgiving with hollow dread. I strive to maintain to my Tribe that nothing has changed even though everything is different, and we will observe traditions and rituals with ruthless determination and unrestrained rejoicing.
But I tread carefully so as to censor any reference to sorrows that could trigger a relapse into a swollen knot of viscous grief or occipital tsunami.
What I had not calculated into this whole equation of maternal cushioning were the specifics of these children. Case in point: most unexpectedly, Beckham, our six-year-old, said quietly, “I miss Beboss.”
So simple. So healing. So endearing.
There was a chorus of “Me, too’s” and “So do I’s.” And our Thanksgiving feast proceeded unencumbered by emotional delicacies.
It’s funny how those you housebreak, light the way.
I found myself thinking every day should be Thanksgiving.
And in the spirit of the season – that is, the narcissistic, self-indulgence of unfettered egotistical bloat – I thought I’d pre-empt the Black Friday crush and do some shopping on Blue Tuesday.
What was I thinking???!!!
I don’t know why I supposed I could spend an entire weekend as an alpha predator with my nose in the feed bag, followed by a tryptophan stupor in which I alternately resumed sufficient consciousness to pound down one more forkful of pie with the unfettered vigor of a ravenous Cro-Magnon, (and utter disregard for my future welfare), and think I could fit into any item of clothing not purchased at Triple A Tent and Awning. Credit me with an error.
I eagerly…and stupidly…took several items of clothing into the dressing room at Nordstrom’s, and removed my outfit.
HOLY STUFFING! Who just upped my critical mass???
I looked at myself in total disbelief. There before me was the reflection of a perpendicular Twinkie with so many extra folds and convolutions, I looked like a cross between a geriatric Gollum and the Brain That Wouldn’t Die!
I had become the virtual embodiment of those humorous greeting cards with old women misshapen with age and rearranged geography, cobbled, glacial and ropey. My entire body appeared to have been dry brining for a decade. All I was lacking was the punch line.
I looked like a confidante of Moses.
I was sure I had been sucked down an unholy vortex of flab, a casualty of descending magnetic anomalies.
I watched as my face emptied. My cheeks lacked oxygenation. My jaws slackened in shock. I nearly retched. I barely overcame my primal instinct to swear.
I gasped audibly.
And then a cute young, well-sculpted sales girl, with perky and exaggerated endowments (sternum gigantums) asked sweetly if I was OK.
I sputtered, “No! I am NOT OK! I have aggravated reflection distortion disorder! Something is wrong with your mirrors!”
She was condescending and reassured me that it seems to be a condition many women of my generation experience. She then suggested diplomatically I might want to browse the “burqa-chic” department, located beyond the “squat-and-square” rounders, just next to the “broadened horizons” rack. (The little Gila monster!) It was a flagrant case of generational sales debauchery.
I declined the offer. I was so angry. My ego was perforated, and I wrestled with my better angels not to indulge in conduct (or language) unbecoming a grandma.
All I wanted to do was collect my shredded dignity, swallow a cocktail of “Tag-Away” and fermaldehyde, wallow in pity, and finish off the remaining half of the suicide-by-chocolate pie.
I suppose I must learn to overcome obstacles of my own making.
So I cursed the whole concept of holiday shopping and decided to spend the Thanksgiving weekend opening “aging generation population” mailings persuading me that now is the time to purchase the hearing aids I’ve been coveting, or to come in for a “swift lift” on my lunch hour, or install guard rails around my toilet so I don’t fall in.
I guess as a baby-boomer emeritus, I am a member of the age of arrogant gullibility. Check your vanity at the door, Joni.
But just recently, I learned that “blessed” means “Oh, the happiness.” Lovely.
Forget Black Friday.
I am truly blessed. If gratitude is the highest form of thought, I’ll spend my time counting my blessings, not my purchases…and rejoice.