Thankful Thursdays | 10.06.2016

Thankful Thursdays 10.06.2016 | In Jennie's Kitchen

Life feels like a blur since last Friday morning. We left the house in a hurry, partied the weekend away, celebrating big life events for dear friends, with a Bat Mitzvah on Saturday, and a wedding on Sunday. Then I walked in the door on Monday afternoon, and proceeded to make Rosh Hashanah dinner.

I’m not I’ve come up for air yet, and am looking forward to catching a few extra winks this weekend. I wouldn’t trade the busyness of last weekend for the world, though, even if it was emotionally difficult at moments. At events like these, the empty space in our lives is accentuated. As my old friends in Brooklyn made their way into temple, my heart felt crushed a little more each time, while I watched husbands and wives walk in together.

I used to be one of them. A couple, that is. Our girls have known each other since they were four years old. We went apple picking together in the fall, celebrated Halloween and Christmas with parties at my house in Brooklyn. But that was all then. And this is now, so vastly different. I have to remind myself often that was me. I was that girl who had that life.

The first year of mourning, everyone is there. Friends take you in on holidays, thinking the first will be the hardest. The advice I give to people now who ask me what they can do for a friend who has recently become widowed is this—set an alert on your phone for one year from now, and again for six months from then, and then again for a year from that. That is when your friend will need you most, when everyone else has resumed life as they know it. That is when they feel their most lonely, when the proverbial dust settles.

This isn’t to say they’re left unscathed. Your story is part of their story, if they’re dear friends. It’s just that they’re removed from it as everyday life kicks back in. Life goes on is the saying, right?  I try to make people feel comfortable when they slip around me, and share a story of how their spouse annoyed them. I don’t want to be treated differently, and yet I do in some way.

I want to feel like I matter to someone. This feels like a weakness, but, really, I think it’s just human nature. When the pastor, who also happened to be the father of the bride, recited the words to their handfasting during the ceremony I couldn’t help but feel crushed. Every line began with these are the hands…and mine are alone. Invisible hands, and the thought of M walking side-by-side aren’t always the comfort needed.

 

Don’t get me wrong. We had an amazing weekend. I danced so much with my girls at the wedding that my old knees were like WTH, lady?! And Isabella loved seeing of bunch of her old elementary school mates.

Still, I came back, and began to feel a somber settling in as my mind drifted to the holidays the lie ahead (I know, I know…it’s only October 6th). There’s a lyric in a song by Cloud Cult, the name is The Ghost Inside Our House. “We’ll start a little family, and call it our religion…” That’s exactly what we did, and it was all I ever needed. Christmas with just the four of us was one of the most blessed days of the year. I’ve been trying to figure out where we belong for the past five years, actually this December will mark the sixth year of holidays without Mikey.

Thankful Thursdays 10.06.2016 | In Jennie's Kitchen

The other lyric that stands out in that song is, “So we live on, baby live on, in our song, our hummingbird song”. And that idea is what prompted me to book a three week trip to Europe mid-December to early January. I’m starting to second guess it a little bit, but the truth is it’ll just be me and the girls regardless of where we are, and any place but here felt right back in August when I made this decision.

We’ll be in London, Germany (I so want to see the Christmas markets), Paris, and Italy (I think). The details aren’t quite worked out yet, so I’m not sure what city we’ll be in for Christmas Eve and Day. I reached out to a concierge to help with the planning because it was all starting to feel a bit overwhelming. I think once hotels are booked, I’ll start feeling a little bit more settled about the trip. Until then, I’m going to focus on feeling thankful that I can even plan a trip of such magnitude.

Music Pairing: The Ghost Inside Our House by Cloud Cult.

21 Comments

  • gayle pickering

    beautiful. in so many ways. thanks for the strength to share – i hope somehow you can take strength from those of us that treasure your words.

  • Eileen Jaffe

    J…..following since Mikey died. Am six years into my widowhood. Formed a band after he died. Started songwriting. Here are a few lyrics to my song Come Round.
    “They come round with wishes and dishes
    They come round wearing sad eyes
    They come round with only good intentions
    They come round till they come round no more”. And further in the song…. “Life goes on, so do they..” Carry on warrior princess. Life goes on and so do we.

    Much love….. e

  • Radhika

    You look so beautiful, Jennie! I so hope that true love finds you again. You deserve it. I am loving your snaps.

  • Eva

    Living in Germany I can only give you one advice: the really beautiful christmas markets are not the famous ones in the bigger cities like Nuremberg or Munich, but the unknown ones in smaller towns. With a little bit of online research it should be easy to figure them out in every part of Germany!

  • Jennie

    Eva,

    I’d love some recommendations before I book, if you have some to share. Right now the concierge I’m using to help plan this has suggested Munich or Frankfurt. I was going to choose Frankfurt. Overall, I need something that can manageably be done traveling alone with two kiddos. Planning on taking the train from London.

    xo-Jennie

  • Alison

    If you can squeeze it in I highly recommend Prague around the holidays. The city is absolutely stunning, the markets during the holidays are lovely, and the mulled wine they sell at outside stalls is worth braving the cold.

  • Eva

    Frankfurt is one of the less beautiful cities in Germany, in my opinion. I asked a workmate, who lives in Frankfurt, for advice and he told me, the christmas market there is crowded, expensive and people tend to drink a lot. That also holds true for Munich, unfortunately.
    But my workmate also recommended these two markets in the area around Frankfurt:
    http://www.deutsche-weihnachtsmaerkte.de/Information-16.-Weihnachtsmarkt-Wasserburg-Bad-Vilbel_1529.html
    (Only the second december weekend)
    https://taunus.info/veranstaltungskalender/feste-maerkte-festivals/koenigsteiner-weihnachtsmarkt/548/
    (Only the first december weekend)

    The area around Munich is where I live, so these are the markets we use to visit (each of them a 1 hour drive from munich):
    http://www.friedberger-advent.de
    (Every day. If you can, go weekdays)
    http://www.gut-mergenthau.de/cms/waldweihnacht/
    (Only weekends)
    http://www.weihnachtsinsel.de
    (Only thursday till sunday)

    And a great market/festival in munich:
    http://www.tollwood.de/english/winterfestival-2016/

    You can find impressions of the markets on the pages, when you click “Bilder”.
    If you need further help with translation, let me know!

  • Eva

    If you choose Munich and don’t want to rent a car: two markets I mentioned are in/next to Augsburg which can easily be reached via train from Munich. the trains go twice an hour and it takes about 30 minutes from central station to central station. For the “friedberger advent” you change trains in Augsburg and it takes another 7 minutes to get to Friedberg.
    Augsburg has a “normal” christmas market as well, in case you want to experience a crowded famous one 😉
    The third market in “gut mergenthau” requires a car to get there, it’s in the middle of nowhere.

  • Firouzeh

    You mentioned hands, and the difficulty of hearing the words of the hand-fasting ceremony. I can’t help but notice your hands fasted together, with and around your girls in your beautiful photo. I know it is incredibly difficult without him, but you still have a wonderful little family in those hands. Peace to you.

  • Angie

    Jenny, you do matter to so many people! But I know what you mean – you want to matter to a special person. But you matter very much to all of your readers, and to those who watch your posts on Instagram and Snapchat. I don’t always reply because I’m not good at technology like Snapchat but I watch your posts faithfully, and I read your blog faithfully! I have a copy of your cookbook and I really admire all that you do in your life!

  • Jennie

    Angie,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this note. It made my day to read it. xo-Jennie

  • catherine

    There is a connection to those who have tragically lost someone we love so dearly that cannot be explained in words but can only be felt in knowing this pain is not ours alone to bear. think of you often and always love reading where you are in your journey if only because it normalizes my own. peace to you

  • Tristen

    Oh my gosh, it’s been a few years since I kinda slipped away from blogs and I was searching for your cranberry sauce (AMAZING, life changing, delicious) recipe this morning, and have spent the day catching up on your Thankful thursdays and enjoying your beautiful recipes. I long to be your neighbor in uptown NY. I love your style of writing, your thought process, the beauty that you make from real life. Thank you so much for sharing, it will take me a long time to get all the posts read, but I’ll do it! I feel like I’ve been catching up with an old friend.

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