Friday, November 23, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Stress Disorder or:


I am from saddle shoes and plaid school uniforms, from Captain Kangaroo and Nancy Drew.

I am from the carefully understated five, four and a door Queen Anne style colonial perched high on the hill looking down on the rest of the carefully planned suburban neighborhood.

I am from the perfectly manicured landscape, hiding the tiny, carefully tended bit of earth bursting with radishes, daisies, bachelor's buttons and lettuces that was mine alone.

I am from parents dining in the formal dining room when my father was home, while children ate in the kitchen and gave most of their food to the dog; from giggling while oldest sister uses her spoon like a miniature catapult to fling artichokes and tiny pearl onions at middle sister and our faithful dog lapped up the mess.

I am from the successful and the disdainful; from the only parents in our neighborhood secure enough to befriend and support the lone family who dared to break the color barrier in our enclave, yet the same parents who shook their heads and clucked their tongues in private over the father's unfortunate choice of Gucci alligator shoes.

I am from stand up straight and lower your voice; you have certain obligations, people expect more from you.

I am from Episcopalian duty and structure and ritual and sanctuary.

I'm from Washington, DC, the daughter of a high ranking executive of a prestigious multinational corporation, grand daughter to prominent civil servants, from rack of lamb and Boeuf Bourguignonne when Daddy was at home and McDonald's cheeseburgers or Spaghettios when he was not.

From the social and financial fallout of a teenaged runaway sister battling her demons, the incredible guilt of furthering my parents emotional and financial burdens with my own catastrophic medical crisis at the same time, and the shock and hidden blessing of my father's career being sidelined by his refusal to continue travelling constantly when he was needed at home.

I am from endless albums of pretty, well dressed, grim faced children shoved away gathering dust in cupboards in my parents' large but slightly shabby Texas home. I still hate to be photographed because photos have a way of recording more than you intend them to.

Today I give thanks for the explosions of laughter coming from my parents sunroom where the teen aged grand children were permitted to dine unsupervised yesterday. Their mothers may still have been a bit grim as is the usual when we are forced to sit together, but the mischievous joy of our children was music to my ears.

You can find out more about the Where I Am From template here.