This last week brought us Thanksgiving, a US holiday that has problematic beginnings but has become a day to eat and give thanks, while recognizing what has happened before us and educating ourselves. For this Thanksgiving, my dear friend who is part of our bubble and lives close and is German wanted to celebrate in an American way so I spent all day dancing in the kitchen and cooking and planning and scheming. I made cranberry sauce and green bean casserole with all components from scratch since you really can’t get those things here. But my crowning glory were the rolls. I used a combo of my grandma’s recipe and things I have learned to knead amazing dough, to watch it rise and shape into the familiar orbs that I grew up with. They did not disappoint. I also threw together Maple Shortbread and a lovely green salad. My friend and her two year old brought chicken and pie and we feasted.
Of course, Ana and I watched White Christmas afterward because it is my family’s tradition and it kicks off the Christmas season for me. It is more important than any food for me in traditions held. I missed my family but the day turned out to have its own sweetness and has really sustained me as we enter lockdown week 5 with the government promising another 5 or so weeks of lockdown around us. If I think too long about the weeks ahead, my body starts to sink and I get discouraged but when I focus on the small wins in day to day I can keep my head above water.
No doubt this holiday season is different than any other. The one promise I held when I moved across the ocean was that I would be home for Christmas and I can’t keep that promise this year. Some days it buries me in grief but it is the safe choice for everyone. I keep reminding myself that someday these will be memories we talk about when we are gathered again. I can do this for this season as long as I know that better days are coming.
Week 5 of lockdown, and moving into 10 months altogether of this, seems unfathomable and yet humans are adaptive creatures. We are learning new things about ourselves and our world each day that we must be in this space. We are learning about necessities and what we can bear. We are learning about what we need to make things a little better.
Ana and I took the dogs out walking yesterday and ended up on the field with the low sun shining on us and on the way home we got the first of our season’s Gluhwein, a spicy warm mulled wine. It was so delicious. It could have been because we were so frozen by that point but it warmed us and made us smile. The spices were perfect and it was so tasty. We glowed about it all the way home with dogs in toe. Little wins will help with Week 5.
How are you coping?