We hosted Thanksgiving for 22 last week. It was lovely and joyous and, yes, a wee bit frantic. I didn’t get out of my pajamas on Friday. It is a gift to be able to host so many people you love in your home, serve them food, and celebrate family, but I am slow on the recovery from all the love and joy and leftovers. Adulting is hard work, yo.
Yesterday I was putting away our turkey platter and got to thinking. The platter was something we had registered for during our engagement, in 2001. Before children, before parent loss, before home ownership, before cancer. In 2017, it is easy to romanticize that life was easier then, simpler, certainly more innocent.
In 2001, I would have been a young woman, with a fiance and a career. I had defined ideas about what my life would look like. My future was bright and full of possibilities. Registering for a turkey platter was a commitment to that future. It was a nod to the life my partner and I hoped to create together, and, if all went according to plan, it would involve hosting big and boisterous holiday dinners.
The platter we chose was chic and classic, I thought, clean and elegant. Off white in color, rectangular, its only flair being a refined beading along the edge. Large enough to hold a turkey the size of a young child. It was porcelain, so more delicate than it looked, but still sturdy.
When you’re young and in love, registering for your wedding gifts is a nod to the life you hope to have and what you want that life to look like. Looking back, I think I absolutely did want a life that was chic and elegant, clean and classic. Stylish. Those things were important to me at the time. Turns out what I got was sturdy. My life is sturdy. And that ain’t so bad.
My porcelain platter is now full of cracks and stains. It is discolored and looks worn. No one would confuse it for being chic and clean anymore. Nope. It’s serviceable. And sturdier than its fragile finish. It is the shiny glaze that has cracked, but not the ceramic underneath. One could argue it has grown into its elegance.
That’s what I was thinking about as I reached to put it away yesterday afternoon. The life my husband and I have created is a lot like this old platter of ours. The years have worn on us. Each loss, each passing year is a new crack in our finish. The love we have for one another and the people we have lost have seeped into those cracks, visible, changing what we are, part of our DNA.
But here we are, almost seventeen years later, just like our turkey platter — serviceable and sturdy. We have exactly what it is we had hoped for, and yet it looks different than what we had imagined. Those big holiday dinners for friends and family that were but a twinkle in our young eyes, are now our reality. We’re not fancy, we’re not chic or refined, but we hold love and we serve love to one another and to those in our orbit.
It’s so grand. And so lovely. And, yes, it makes me weep out of gratitude.