Women’s Memoirs, a lifewriting blog I follow, had aninteresting post recently that’s worth sharing. Matilda had read The New Science of Love: How Understanding the Brain’s Wiring Can Help Kindle Your Relationship, by Dr. Fran Cohen Praver. Since Thanksgiving is coming up and you’ll probably be spending time with extended family, Matilda’s post is worth reading. The gist is that not only do our relationships as little kids with our parents matter, but also the relationships we had with our siblings. The way we interacted with our brothers and sisters may be affecting the way we act today, not just with them as adults, but with other people! And we thought parents were to blame for everything.
Were you or one of your siblings picked on? Who was the bossy one? Did someone feel the need to lie, to pretend sickness, to complain constantly? Is someone still bossy, still whiny, still needy? Is someone suffering from low self-esteem, too much self-esteem? I remember picking on my little sister a little too much. I apologized to her years ago. Thankfully, I could finally see how my behavior hurt her, but many people cannot step outside themselves and see their behavior or how it hurts or annoys others. Then they wonder why the family (or other people) doesn’t like them.
If you’re dreading this Thanksgiving because of difficult family relationships, someone (or two) stuck in the rut of past behavior and maybe even carrying it on to a spouse or kids, try dredging up some memories of how you all related to each other when you were one family under the same roof. Perhaps by telling old stories you can elicit laughter, or even understanding and healing. It’s always interesting (sometimes shocking!) to hear different views of one memory. If you let the feelings behind those different views exist without judgment—because feelings are not right or wrong, they just are—your family members will feel safe talking about their feelings. No attacking. Learning about each other’s perspectives might help break the cycle of harmful current behavior, or at least put a crack in it, or at least let others know where they are coming from. Learning about our parents’s early lives can really be eye-opening in terms of connecting how that affected their parent relationship with their children—I know all about that from writing my mother’s childhood memoir, Cherry Blossoms in Twilight!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving full of the awareness of all the blessings, large and small, in your lives. Whether your family is a little dysfunctional or not, enjoy some time together gathering old memories and learning about each other
Oh, and my friend, Bob, has a fun Thanksgiving Song of Gratitude for you.
And here is a re-post of the fabulous fresh pumpkin pie recipe from my sister:
Fresh Pumpkin Pie
1 ½ cup pumpkin puree
¾ cup sugar
½ cup milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla
Cut in half and clean out a small pie pumpkin. Microwave each half on High, cut side down, in a pie plate filled with 1/8 inch water, until a fork goes in easily (15-20 minutes each half). Drain, cool, remove flesh and puree in a blender. Add remaining ingredients to 1 ½ c of pumpkin puree, pour into a smaller size pie pan with a graham cracker crust or unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Bake at 375F for 45 minutes until set. Makes a delicious custard-like pie, incomparable to use of canned pumpkin. Serve with dollops of whipped cream.
Ginger Graham Crust
1 ½ c graham cracker crumbs
6 Tbsp melted unsalted butter
1/3 c sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
Toss gently to mix, spread into a pie plate, pressing onto bottom and sides. Bake at 375F for 4-5 minutes to set. Cool before filling.