Is there such a condition as “excessive need for validation”? I mean my therapist already pointed out my rather unhealthy need for approval – mostly from myself, although I tell myself I’m a liar and well, that’s a whole other ugly circus in my brain. But I found myself overwhelmed with that warm, squishy, happy feeling in the pit of my belly when last night as my husband sent me a simple text saying “thank you for a wonderful day”. So simple but so meaningful.
See, this Thanksgiving was our first together as a married couple and although I missed my daughters in a most unspeakable fashion, I was determined to make a long overdue happy family Thanksgiving for my husband. This included bringing his mother here from the nursing home (doctor’s approval, transportation arrangements, etc.), assembling his two boys (and hopefully not stepping on their mom’s plans for the day), cooking for the first time for my sister in law (who is also a dear long time friend), and convincing my dad to spend the holiday with us (one ever so-slight twist of the arm and a promise of a trip to the local gun range to target shoot on the day after). Sorely missed was the rest of my family…my two girls, their significant others, my grandson, my sister and my beautiful nieces and nephews. Maybe next year…
I roasted the largest turkey I have ever had, nearly 20#, and made all the fixings. Brussels sprouts, peas, corn, biscuits, stuffing (in and out of the bird), mashed potatoes and gravy.
My husband made the pies and in doing so can no longer pretend he doesn’t know his way around the kitchen or how to read a recipe. My dad, despite being told to please sit and relax, chopped the garlic and stood guard over the simmering butter and onions. But other than that, I did the rest. Oh…there was the comical carving of the beast. First I tried, but the giggles from the men standing around gave me stage fright so I suggested my eldest SOMH take a stab at it. He does, after all, work in the food industry. He said working at Burger King does not qualify him to slice up a large bird. So I turned it over to my dad who tried to mimic his grandfather’s talent for being able to feed 20 people with a 10# turkey. Everything else was getting cold and quite honestly, the puddles of drool at my husband’s feet were making me nervous. I reached in and yanked off the drumsticks, said “good enough” and we ate.
Dinner conversation was very nice. My husband asked his eldest son about voting in the next election and the room got quiet. Politics. At Thanksgiving. Seriously? See my dad, my husband and the younger SOMH can actually discuss things like that – they see eye to eye. Same pretty much for my sister in law. But the older SOMH and me…uh…no. My dad, in his usual way, saved it by announcing loudly “let it be known I did not start this conversation.” That made us laugh and I was able to peel my glaring eyes off my husband.
So back to the need for validation and the sweet text message. After dinner dishes were cleared and the pumpkin and apple pies brought out and almost completely consumed in a single sitting, my husband stood looking at the kitchen. The pots, pans, dishes, turkey bones, etc. My husband always pulls his weight at the house and I could see it in his eyes that he was calculating where he would need to install the 2nd and 3rd dishwashers if this was going to be an annual event. I shushed him away. His mom was getting ready to leave and the dishes could wait. The younger SOMH had already succumbed to the turkey coma and missed the pies. (The dejected look on his face when he saw the empty pie pans was priceless. I told him there was a whole 2nd untouched pumpkin pie in the fridge and watched his eyes light up.)
I tackled the kitchen and without people in my way, I was able to get it done in under an hour. Just as I was putting the last dried pan away, I received the text message. I was happy to join the boys on the couch moments later. They were all asleep. So my husband must have subconsciously sent me that text. That simple thing made all of the conscious compliments and laughter seem slight. I think those who suffer with similar personality issues will understand. And will agree that the Thanksgiving hangover (backache, indigestion, headache, and oh-so-achy feet) is worth it, even for just the smallest subconscious text message.