I’m hosting Thanksgiving this year. My eight year old got a hold of my phone and started texting invitations around before I could say “let’s talk about this!” Its ok, not that big a deal really, six adults (the majority to whom I am a blood relative), two pre-teens (opposite sex but they don’t really pay attention to that yet), two kids, one toddler, one German au pair (who acts like a blood relative) and two puppies under a year old. I got this. The turkey is on order, my sister is making the side dishes and I get to decorate and drink wine. For my sister and I this will be our 40-something-th Thanksgiving, 20 some odd with our husbands so we pretty much know how this will go. But as we got to talking we thought maybe this year it could go a little different…
Having slogged through the previous roles of “such well-behaved” girls, supportive girlfriends, patient wives, and attentive mothers, we have mastered manners and being enthralled in conversations with people two times our age. We married beautiful men, made beautiful children, climbed career ladders, studied the political climate to be significant contributors to dinner table banter, and promised that “we didn’t mind doing “it all” one single bit”. Total, exhausting insanity all of our own making to gain a point or two on the invisible tally board.
But with years of deep experience having conquered so many of the shoulds we thought we’d give ourselves a promotion this year. With it comes permission to linger at the table, leave the messy dishes in the sink, leave the messy children at the kids table… unsupervised, pour another glass of wine, lack opinion on the latest news feed, laugh loudly and inappropriately and relish in the true love that surrounds us. Because it turns out that we have more to give in our presence and our messiness than in our attempted perfection. Obvious? Perhaps. But incredibly difficult to deconstruct and start anew. It’s in us so deeply and mirrored so precisely by the other.
Much of the way we live our lives is fraught with outer perception; who we should be to receive love or praise. It becomes our personality, our story and our sole survival tactic. Holidays are awesome supporters of this learned behavior, even (more?) with those we adore the most! Ok. Then this year for the holidays, I am going to be as diligent as possible in matching my inside to my outside. And I am going to practice this over and over again in all parts of my life. And then I am going to bring it to the Company and I am going to work to support each person at FH Perry Builder in being his or her authentic self — promoted instantly to a level of freedom to operate from a place of personal creativity. This means Matt sits in his woodshop to make a client gift out of reclaimed trim from the job site or Rebecca writes the stronger email to mine to communicate meaningfully to one of her homeowners or Jim invites a trade to sit over plans and coffee to be sure his expertise and contribution is fully represented in the bid process. We don’t have time to play politics, cover weaknesses or hide our inadequacies. Because wasting another second of energy on perceived behavior is only going to take away from our capacity to do greater work and be greater people in support of our clients, trade and design partners being the greatest that they can be.
When you sit down at your holiday table be it with a host of others or just a friend or two maybe wonder what it would be like to see the person next to you as a whole person, not just what is on the outside…and what might it be like if you exposed a bit of your wholeness too? Because, after all, I just promoted you.
Warmest holiday wishes and continued gratitude for accepting and connecting to these missives on occasion.