Friday, November 27, 2009

To My Family, I'm Bequeathing Peanut Butter & Jelly

I have the absolute best family. I’m sure most people think that, but I really do. We never argue. Seriously -- never; we have no reason to. We cherish every visit we are able to have together. This has been the nature of our family for as long as I can remember, but the attitude was certainly amplified by my Mother. She had an amazing outlook and always knew what was really important. If others would say that they “don’t have enough room” for someone to visit, or that they “don’t have enough food” to include someone, Mom would never understand. I can literally hear her voice saying “there’s always room; we’ll sleep on the floor if we have to” and “there’s always enough food; we’ll order pizza if we have to.” I’m delighted to have inherited this attitude from Mom. There have been occasions when I’d invite a bunch of people over, and would be asked with a tone of concern “do you have room for that many people?” I am always somewhat bemused by such a statement, and say something like “Of course! There’s always room."

While talking with Neil last week about what we might be having for our Thanksgiving dinner, he said (right in line with our family axiom) that we could have peanut butter and jelly and it would be wonderful, as long as we are together. He was absolutely right, and I decided that we should celebrate this attitude! So in addition to the huge antipasto, shrimp, ravioli, meatballs, turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, bread, cranberry sauce and a plethora of pies and cookies, we also had one peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
I cut the sandwich into small cubes, and at the start of the meal, explained to everyone that my intent was to create a new family tradition. I told them that I hope they will all keep up with this tradition and pass it down. (I’ve not asked if they plan to, or if they think it’s completely stupid, but we’ll see how it goes.) I explained that sharing the peanut butter and jelly sandwich would serve as a reminder of the importance of holidays: that it doesn’t matter what we have, as long as we share it together. I then told my family how glad I was that we were together today, and everyone ate a small piece of the sandwich. (Thanks to all for amusing me).
I think it might be cool, especially after my time here is up, and even more so in future generations, if we kept this tradition, and I hope that it always does reiterate the fact that holidays are not about what you eat, what presents you give/get, how your house is decorated, if your plates match, or how many chairs you have. My Mom would say that it doesn’t even matter what the date on the calendar is. Holidays are about spending time with people you love, enjoying their company, sharing, laughing, loving, and appreciating all that we have.

I was fortune this year, to have spent Thanksgiving with Neil, Al, Don, Jeannie, Jocilyn, Dominick, James, and Mark.  My Dad and Diane could not make it, but I hope to see them soon!!  I hope everyone also had a wonderful holiday!
Special note to all of my family: I’m eager to know if any of you have PB&J at Christmas dinner!



  1. That was a sermon and a lesson for all of us! It' so true -- nothing matters but being together. Too many families can't enjoy one another because they are too busy worrying about all of the details! Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. God bless.

  2. I agree with Tammy! I love the PB&J "tradition". I love having friends, like you, who can drop in to see me when my house is dirty and nobody cares! Life isn't about "stuff", it's about people! Love you Tori!

  3. Sounds like a wonderful tradition - you are such an inspiration!!! I think I will start this tradition with my family as well! Not only will it remind us of our special this time is for our family but it will be a reminder to me of how special of a friend I have that started this!! Love you girl!

  4. What a wonderful tradition. I hope you don't mind if I make it part of our Thanksgivings.



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