Catherine’s Table stories explore the heart of a family, the soul in quiet living, and the power of love. I also write about living with mental illness because sharing stories opens minds.
Catherine’s Table is named in honor of my Aunt Kay who is my second mom. She taught me how to find joy and comfort in everything we did. I spent countless summer nights at her table where I learned what it means to be a family.
Thanksgiving Dinner Reviews And Taking StockMaureen Goldman
Thanksgiving dinner was very good. It actually was. The contributing factors were size, ease and listening ears. It was just the four was of us, my children Matt and Emma and my husband Mark. This dialed the drama meter down significantly as there were fewer personalities to balance and fewer dishes to scrub. The four of us mostly like the same things and share similar points of view on politics and literature. A discussion on universal healthcare branched off because Emma is studying to be a physician’s assistant and has some first-hand experience. So far, we have one Pete voter, two Warrens and an undecided person who thinks the whole thing is a disaster. Our little group comprises two registered Democrats and two Independents. We’ve had some high decibel discussions in the past. This year we kept it civil, even supportive.
Growing up, on my mom’s side of the family, there were a heap of Democrats, and on my dad’s side Republican’s got the vote. The women on my dad’s side were so serious about their politics that the Women’s Republic Club in Manhattan was a frequent destination. My mom’s family was loyal to the Catholic Church and the Democratic party. Always aiming for the sky, we had a cousin in a governor’s mansion, a great grandfather in the Truman administration, a priest, and an actual chapel in an apartment on Park Avenue. That’s commitment. It also explains why I spent seventeen years in Catholic school, beginning at Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan and ending at Georgetown University where I crept to the finish line.
My psychiatrist recently told me that I have a Mother Teresa complex. She spoke at my Georgetown graduation. She was too small to see but had a big impact on me along with dozens of cool nuns at Sacred Heart. I really believe our singular job is to serve others in whatever capacity suits us. At first, I heard the Mother Teresa comment as if it were an ailment. Now, so what. Doing things for others makes me feel better.
As we tell ourselves over and over, Thanksgiving is about gratitude and giving thanks. This year, it’s about taking stock too. My little family of four is in many stages of life. We are feeling the heartaches of late adulthood and the transitions of youth. It’s all very painful and hard.
It felt so good to be together at the table yesterday. Nothing was perfect. I didn’t iron the napkins, and I put the gravy in a bourbon glass because the gravy boat went to heaven somehow. Someone at the table was food shoveling, and I managed to keep my mouth shut until the end. My husband Mark pulled out one of those aged bottles of Barolo which everyone appreciated but me because I don’t know any better. The apple pie came to the table missing a huge chunk. Someone got involved with it the night before.
Thankful for sure, but I’m most grateful for the opportunity to sit together and talk about life and current events. To listen, be hopeful and let things go. Sending lots of love to you for the holidays. xoxo, Maureen