So, Thanksgiving morning… you know the drill. You wake up and start baking those last minute pies and prep the side-dishes for the big turkey dinner.
I decided, last minute, to make a boozy pumpkin pie with rum.
I had been saving two gluten-free pie crusts in the fridge for just this special occasion because, you know — they’re the equivalent of gold (when you find a good one) and cost about a scrillion dollars an ounce.
With great reverence, I took them out of the freezer and placed them on the table to defrost, took out all of the ingredients and began my culinary creation.
A little rum here, a little rum there…
(Here a rum, there a rum, everywhere a rum, rum…)
Filled the pie crusts and walked them, ever so slowly to the oven.
In the next hour, the smell of dark molasses and drunk pumpkin filled our home as I prepped the next dish and ticked to-do items off of my list.
The timer started dinging. I was so excited and did a little skip to the oven, opened it and reached down with my hot pad. Pausing, when I realized that I didn’t want to ruin the perfect crust by grabbing the edge, I reached for a cookie sheet out of that ingenious, skinny side cabinet and scootched the pie onto the sheet.
I, ceremonially, walked it over to the table and placed it on the wire rack to cool, admiring the prettiness of it.
Then, I walked to get the second pie out. I leaned over, did the same scooting thing but this time, the pie slid a little. In an effort to course-correct it with my left hand (without touching it and burning my right) I tilted the cookie sheet up and slid the pie in the other direction.
But it was too much.
And it was too late.
It slid up
Like a scene out of a Dr. Seuss book
Before I slammed that pie, face down, on the floor like it had done something horribly wrong to me in a past life.
The boys came running in to see what happened.
They found our poor, dead pumpkin pie, splattered all over the floor.
Caleb, my Mister Matter of Fact stated: “Oh well, it’s just a pie. I’m going for a walk.”
As he turned away and out the door.
Seth filled the space his brother left and started a slow clap.
“Wow. Good job, Mom. You just John Cena’d the pie.”
(For those of you who don’t know, John Cena was a WWF professional wrestler.)
And then, my husband came in. My beautiful, sweet, ever-surprising husband.
He looked at me and put his arm around me, “Oh baby, I’m sorry…I know you loved that pie.
I rolled my eyes.
He put his hand on his hips and looked around, “Well, today is a good day to be thankful that it didn’t land on the carpet. That would have been a nightmare to get out.”
That was a good point.
I hadn’t thought of that…
Then, he got down on one knee, right in front of that pie and still looking at it, said to me, “Hand me a spoon and get the camera.”
At first I thought he had concluded that a spoon was the best way to scrape the pie guts off the floor.
But then, I thought again.
“Oh no, you will not even…” I shook my head at him like he was crazy, “…please tell me this is a photo op and nothing more.”
He motioned his hand to me like Neo from the Matrix, “Give me the spoon.”
I swallowed hard. Grabbed my phone and handed him the spoon.
Surely, he’s just going to pretend.
And fling it all to the side in that last desperate minute before it hits his mouth.
He peeled off the crust..
scooped up some pie..
And with a wince and strong will..
put it in his mouth.
I’m sure I died a little while he “Mmm-d” and said, still chewing, “Wow.” Nodding his head up and down, “That’s really good.”
And gave a thumbs up.
Holy Probiotic Pumpkin, Batman.
I couldn’t help myself.
I had to start laughing.
I loved the different reactions. They remind me of the so many options we have to when life hits the floor.
My older son chose to put it into perspective, “Just a pie, Mom…” and take his bare feet into nature where all that great perspective grows and lives.
My other son decided to find the humor in it and look on in an amused way.
My husband got down where the mess was and ate up the best parts of it.
Nobody yelled at me. Told me I was stupid, worthless or wrong.
They just chose three higher roads and brought me to a place where I could say to all of us, “Welp. No one’s ever going to forget this first Thanksgiving in our new apartment…”
And it’s true.
Even though I wish the pie had made it to my table, I’m so grateful that the lesson made it to my heart. I had that moment to receive the love and wonder of these three great men who know how to take life in stride and make the most of when messy things happen.
It’s not always that way – and it’s not always that easy. Trust me, I get it.
We have lots of messier messes that take longer to clean up and to find perspective in.
But it reminds me, whatever we’re dealing with today — whether it’s something light — like a pumpkin pie taking a nose-dive or something more — ultimately those five principles my guys brought to me that day can help us all in so many situations:
1. Put what happened in perspective of the big picture.
2. Go out in nature to re-center your soul.
3. Find the lightness or humor that is hiding in the circumstance.
4. Seek out the good, delicious parts of a hard experience.
5. Choose gratitude for what happened — partly because it is what it is and gratitude shifts how we see everything — and partly because, often times, it really could have been worse.
Thanksgiving is a day, but choosing gratitude, perspective, laughter and goodness is a lifestyle.
It’s not always easy to find the grateful places, but when we surround ourselves with loving souls who are cheering us on, it tends to make our burdens light.
May you be surrounded by so much love today and in this holiday season ahead.
Sending you love,