Thursday, November 22, 2007

Candelabras and Choices

Allan and I went out yesterday in search of a portable heater for the bathhouse, french bread and candles. As we left the house to head for Elmers- the local store/hardware/clothing stop- I noted it was a damn good thing we didn't have any big mirrors in the house.

I did not want to know what I looked like.

We enjoyed a hearty greeting from everyone and it always amuses me that everyone assumes we're married. I think we looked rather heterosexual, though Donald and Walter rolled their eyes when I said that. Before we left we made our list because going out to the store ends up to be about a 40 mile round trip. You don't want to forget anything.

Damn, I said. We forgot the candelabras. We don't have anything to hold the candles in.

We settled for some unscented camp candles and stood them up on a dish. I know, we are truly roughing it.

Last night I seared foie gras, and served it with sliced smoked duck breast and prosciutto on mixed greens with a shallot vinaigrette for dinner. You know, something I threw together on the fly.

Jeanine and the boys arrived last night. Ben walked around and glumly noted how stupid the house was, how stupid downeast Maine was and how stupid pretty much everything in his life was.

I'm going to love the teenage years.

This morning, while Alan was putting up boards over the windows (we will have the house closed after tomorrow), Walter was stuffing the turkey, Jeanine was hauling wood and I was staring breakfast, Ben exclaimed,

I do EVERYTHING around here.

Walter and I looked at each other, dropped our tasks and said, Great. That means it's cocktail hour!

Well... ALMOST everything.

I figured out a great way to give the kids a choice in chores. You know, all the parenting literature today says, give children a choice, an option, which I actually think is a nightmare waiting to happen but then, I have three kids.

Three choices.

Not in a million years. But I do try to be reasonable, so I have been giving them a choice. Clean the table or clean the outhouse. Haul some wood or clean the outhouse. Help Allan with the boards or ... you get the idea. Funny how fast things get done around here now.

All with a choice.

This morning, at high tide, the water reached the very edge of our house. Looking out, it seemed like we were on a boat. In a moment, even with the rough water, I promised myself to learn how to sail next summer.

The turkey is in the oven. Jeanine is rolling out sweet potato gnocchi. I have an anniversary edition Grgich Hills Chardonnay to open with dinner. A 1985 Dow's vintage port to go with cheese afterwards. The rest is standard favorites- green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, turkey, ham and rolls.

Hey, we don't have any candle holders at the table. It's not perfect.

We have a lot of choices up here. Not just to clean the outhouse or not, but to sit in front of the fire, to walk to the point, to play the piano. Mostly, though, we have the choice to all come together as a family. To celebrate who we have become, the work that goes into being together, and all the love we have surrounding us. We don't have to be here, trying to figure out who is doing what, how to get our needs met and still be respectful of one another. It's a constant dance. It's not always easy but we choose to work at it.

And for that, I give thanks today.


Anonymous Laura said...

Your family sounds beautiful and that alone is worth the work.

Glad you guys had a nice day!

We had a houseful of 20+ crazy Italians! We survived - without any blood shed! And today we get to do it all over again. We have so much food left that they will all be back around 5! *where is my Xanax?*

8:49 AM  
Blogger Suzy said...

Function before fashion. Good thing Ben didn't get me as a mom I would drive him totally crazy.
Sounds like a fantastic Thanksgiving memory. Can hardly wait to see this magical place.
love ya

8:59 AM  

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