Where is the family? What family? As a child I can recall our family holidays in OH. We had several aunts, uncles and cousins which we would celebrate the holidays with. Shortly before my 11th birthday, my parents uprooted us from our home and moved to OK; isolated, away from family and friends. Sometimes we would spend a holiday with my grandfather and step grandmother, also living in OK, but not often. Our holidays were lonely while it was “bless us five and no more.”
When I married my then husband, Charles, his family became mine and from our years of early marriage, we began planning and hosting countless Woods’ family holidays and special events. With my affection for cooking and baking, there was no better way to show my love for our family that to make certain every detail was fine tuned for those memorable occasions.
I spent hours, researching recipes, purchasing groceries and preparing the meals. Butter pats formed from turkey molds, hand created marzipan fruit and vegetables cascading from a cornucopia cake and hand dipped chocolates, were just some of the details of those early holidays. As a dietitian I fully understood people eat “with their eyes” before a discriminating palate senses the food. Thus, a beautiful table and elegantly displayed food was as imperative as the food itself.
For over three decades our home was the “family gathering spot”. Countless holidays, birthdays, bridal and baby showers were hosted in our home. The fatigue and stress from these events were minuscule as compared with my joy in the gift of giving and doing for others. The majority of all these events were for Charles’ family, as my family of origin seldom visited.
When Charles touted last year that he despised (his word was hate) all the events we hosted, I was astounded. He had never alluded to loathing these celebrations. For the majority of our 44-year marriage after working full-time in a career, I was required to find the time to plan and prepare for these happenings. If it were not a Woods’ family event, or birthday parties for him or our children, we were hosting parties and gatherings for his staff and employees to further his career.
Countless hours of backaches, leg cramps, and financial expenditures in planning and preparing such events could have been utilized for persons cherishing the gift. I still ponder how I could give all those hours of my time for someone I loved, to be informed he hated every party we hosted. Communication was something Charles never provided me during our marriage. I willingly would not have hosted even one, had he informed me of what his heart was feeling.
As I shared in my previous blog about not always knowing what someone is thinking and feeling, Charles has offered his deepest thoughts and feelings to his “new love”, Debbie, but as his wife, that was withheld from me. My greatest desire was to be a wife that brought him joy. Telling me over six years after leaving me, that he hated all the entertaining we did, leaves no opportunity for correction. TO BE CONTINUED: I Cor. 13:13 NKJ, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”