In celebration of the Thanksgiving season, I thought it would be fun to share an excerpt from “Momnesia!” The main character has been on a quest of self-discovery, and ponders the question: “Why are we afraid to simply say what we want?” Read on for a thought-provoking excerpt with a twist of humor!
From Page 67 of Momnesia (slight modifications have been made to increase enjoyment out of context)
(The main character has been speculating on how her kids would react if she were to begin treating herself as well as she treats them…)
…I thought about my kids, and how they would react if I were to take a perfect piece of cake, leaving the messy, broken one on the platter: They’d be horrified at my self-indulgence and indignantly annoyed that they might have to suffer through tomorrow’s leftover cake without a frosting rose, all because of me.
In a flash, I could instantly cite dozens of examples of things we Momnesiacs do day-in and day-out that also fall into this category. Upon further speculation, it dawned on me that this behavior becomes so habitual that we develop the proclivity to do it with other adults too—even when our children aren’t involved!
For example, a turkey has two legs. The typical Thanksgiving dinner usually has at least eight adults, all of whom claim that the drumstick is their favorite (especially the women, who normally choke down white meat throughout the rest of the year). While the birds are roasting, families all across the land can be heard debating about who is going to get those turkey legs, cackling on about how they fully intend to have one, and half-joking about how, if necessary, they’ll even tackle one another in order to get it.
So why is it that no matter how many people eat at a Thanksgiving table, there is always a drumstick left over?
My philosophy is actually quite simple. What it all comes down to is that no one will say what they want. Each person eyes the platter longingly (particularly the women, for the men are customarily far too full from cocktails and appetizers to care), wishing for the leg, but no one will take it. Of course, the hostess, who has been cooking the bird since six o’clock that morning, ends up getting one at the insistence of all in attendance. But the other fat, juicy turkey leg? No one will make a move, each insisting half-heartedly that they are far too full, and that the white meat is actually their favorite.
Instead, the turkey leg languishes on the platter, gradually becoming as inedibly dry as the rest while everyone continues to grin and bear it, dunking their strip of white meat overzealously into a river of gravy in an attempt to make it moist enough to swallow.
Why do we deprive ourselves of what we really want? Why do we fear anyone “finding out” that we actually like something and that “Yes, thank you,” we’d enjoy it?
I suspected that I wasn’t the only one who somehow felt “undeserving.” I didn’t know for sure what the reason was (I presumed that it involved a certain degree of martyrdom), but regardless, I decided that I was no longer going to participate.
I decided that not only would I refuse to serve myself the messed-up piece of cake anymore, but further, I would learn to say yes to other things I like too. And if no one is willing to wrestle me for it, then so be it that I will enjoy a turkey leg every Thanksgiving, year after year—hostess or not.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The prospect of my daughters spending their adult lives eating messed-up cake and dry turkey made my heart ache for them. The more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that I was doing my kids incontrovertible harm by giving them the impression that moms’ wants and needs are unimportant. What will happen when they become mothers? Will they end up being just as excessively self-sacrificing as I am?
It seemed to me that this would be the ultimate disservice to my children. I concluded that the Momnesiac I had become—albeit with every good intention to give my children the best in life—would be the very same aspect of my parenting that would subsequently become their demise.
As hard as it would be to change my ways, I realized that I needed to force myself to do things differently. Not that I should be selfish, but it was obvious that I needed to make it clear that moms are people too—just as deserving of respect, appreciation, and the enjoyable things in life as children are.
The very thought made me feel uncomfortable and self-centered. But, die-hard Momnesiac that I was, I was willing to work through my discomfort because it was for the children. I told myself to look at the bright side—that maybe I would end up enjoying my own life more as a result. It was hard to imagine, but I was determined to try.
Turns out, this was all much more easily said than done.
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt, and I’d love to hear your comments below. Do you think you might sometimes be excessively self-sacrificing? Do you agree or disagree with the character’s philosophy about teaching her children that “moms are people too?”
If you may be interested in reading “Momnesia,” you can find it in paperback or for your Kindle/iPad here.
Thanks for visiting, and please feel free to share this excerpt with others! Happy Thanksgiving… enjoy your turkey leg!
If you’d like to read more free excerpts from my books, you can find them here.