Having just come off Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and looking towards Christmas and Chanukah (which this year’s first night falls on Christmas Eve), my mind and heart turn, as always, toward family and home. Far away from my family, I was blessed to have my younger son Jason and his wife, Terry, my dear Katrina and Neil and my “granddog”, Oreo, with me. We visited colleges on the east coast for Katrina and returned home in time for Terry to create her kitchen magic as she always does.
As we sat around the kitchen table, just the five of us, with Oreo looking up hopefully, we each said what we were thankful for – a scene not unlike many others on Long Island – but not all. As I basked in the wonderful holiday smells with the TV far in the background echoing the Thanksgiving Day parade or a long anticipated football game, I realized, once again, how lucky I am and how special these moments are in the life of my family.
This is the first year in a very long time that Jason, Terry, and the kids have all been here together. It was always Florida where my parents were and where Bernie spent his last years with me the constant traveler. This time, with no family there, we’d, hopefully, start a new tradition. Busy with work I scrambled to get the house picture perfect, knowing all the while it would be in a happy shambles of shoes, chargers, cell phones, ipads, and “stuff” in no time.
We visited friends and stopped at the office and store briefly, but mostly we were home, resting reading, watching sports (not me) and playing the ongoing favorite family pastime, dominos (and it can get nasty!!) I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We were warm, safe and full of good food. For a brief time, we all escaped from the hectic and often stress-filled lives we lead and just “vegged”! And we were together. The only thing that would have made it more perfect was to have my now Singaporean elder son with us. Still, I’m so grateful that he is well and where he wants to be for now – and there’s always next year.
I hope your Thanksgiving was as uneventful and wonderful as mine. I hope your home – the place where it all comes together for families – is what you want it to be – and if not, there’s always next year. But for some, there may not be a next year – for families to be safe, warm and together. While the stores are filled with shoppers and Cyber Monday sales were never larger, there are those who struggle with hunger daily – some in our own backyard. When asked to design a table setting for Island Harvest’s major donor’s dinner, I learned more about this amazing organization which feeds 10% of our population on Long Island. You can go to their website to learn more (http://www.islandharvest.org) and perhaps stop by our design firm at 459 Lake Avenue or our store at 176 2nd Street with any nonperishable items you might want to donate to make someone’s holiday happier.
My family exchanged Chanukah gifts early on Thanksgiving Day and I will miss them dearly during this festive holiday time but my home is filled with the happy memories of their past visit as if is filled with the memoires of holidays when Bernie carved the turkey with my parents looking on. I believe they still are – just as I believe, as Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”