Come Early and Stay Late 
by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein 

Come Early and Stay Late by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, 

Most of us have very special feelings and thoughts around Thanksgiving time. Perhaps we are a little less pitched emotionally and physically tired than when Christmas, Chanakah and New Year's roll along. Yet at the same time, there is an expectation of family and connection and feeling at home with others and ourselves that I believe most of us find surfacing one more time. Here is what my mother, Bernice Becker wrote about Thanksgiving a few years ago, in her story 'Mimiam's House', which appeared in The Enchanted Self paper newsletter.

"My favorite season, Autumn, has arrived with its clear crisp "wake-up" weather. I enjoy the glorious burgundy, russet, orange, gold and green shades of foliage that pervade the highways and gardens. The best of nature's toothbrush, the crunchy juicy apples in their prime, along with the other fruits and vegetables are all part of the harvest bounty.

Summer clothes are being put away. It is time for the lightweights, sheers and pastels to get a rest. We see the more earthy brilliant shades making their appearance. Recently I purchased a sweater coat in a luscious cranberry color to keep me cozy during the chilly weather.....

In November we have Thanksgiving, the most traveled day of the year, as well as the 'most eating' day in which we indulge our appetites to the fullest and hope we don't gain weight. Most of us love Thanksgiving because we get together with our families, near or far. Unfortunately as we get older, the logistics of this can be difficult.....Recently our dear friend called to remind us to come for the holiday. "Come early and plan to stay late," she said hospitably. This left me with the good feeling that we are welcome and wanted...It promises to be a day to remember."

And so the day was for my mother, still vital and now an author of her first book, at 85,FEEL GOOD STORIES, and my dear dad, who since then has passed on. 

To make the most of Thanksgiving I think we need to backwards and forwards at the same time. Not easy, but possible. Nostalgic remembering are certainly in order-as some of the ladies in a workshop I did on autumn remembered: The smell of the heat going on in an old house; The smell of baked apples; The smell of leaves burning; My mom's holiday ways. She couldn't back, but could she cook!; Wearing peddle pushers to the Thanksgiving football game at the High School and feeling my body was perfect!

Ah, such memories. We hold them as treasures and testaments to ourselves. Yet at the same time, we need to look forward and see ourselves in the present and in the future as wondrous people, still full of energy and love and up for great new experiences of connection and meaning. This means not getting caught in the past. We must be careful to not let nostalgia turn into sadness and regrets. Rather, our past is our treasure chest and this Thanksgiving and many more to come are our new mined Diamonds. Let them sparkle with all the facets and brilliance of our own complex, wonderful, dynamic personalities.

The bottom line is to make this Thanksgiving a day to remember. Bring presents, food, your smile, whatever you can spare. Be generous of spirit. Let the little ones crawl into your lap and tell them stories so they have the beginnings of a personal memory treasure chest. Help in the kitchen or cheer others by your smile as you sit and eat walnuts. And just remember you are special. So come early and stay late!

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