No, I did not win the lottery. The island I am referring to is purely symbolic. Let me explain…Over 15 years ago, I was a young bride living in the city, preparing for my first ever Thanksgiving dinner party. On the invite list were my mom, dad and stepmom, my sister, brother and his family. I was a bit pouty because at 21, I wanted to invite my friends as well and my husband talked me out of it, saying that the guests would not mesh well.
I prepared my turkey by holding it as far away as possible from my face and pull out the neckbone and gave it a good rinse, season and tucked butter under the skin like Martha Stewart said to do and stuck it in the oven. After quite some time, I noticed smoke coming out through the vent. I pull the turkey out and realized I have left the bag of giblets in the neck cavity. YUK! I grab my tongs and quickly remove it, stick it back in the oven, not telling a soul. I go on to make my sides and things go well.
My guests start arriving. My mom had completed one of her last rounds of chemo and radiation and was quite weak, but smiled proudly as she entered my place and didn’t stop the entire evening. My sister-in-law came bearing gifts of kitchen wear that I still adore and use until this day. My sister, being 18, made her way to my room and found the phone. We didn’t see her for a while.
We laughed, we ate and drank and the evening was a huge success. After the guests all made their way home that evening, I turned to my husband and thanked him. For what? he said. For knowing that the extra guests would have changed the dynamic of what I coined perfect island. We laughed and he, like most men, gloated a bit for knowing better. The extra element of my young, mostly single friends would have distracted me from that special day. That was my last Thanksgiving with my mom, and one I will remember forever.
Anyway…recently I realized that the concept applies not only to first Thanksgiving dinners, but really to life in general. Everyone has an island. Some people’s islands are very populous with bridges connecting to other islands, without documentation required, and anyone and everyone can come and go as they please. Other people’s islands are more exclusive with maybe only one bridge that is policed pretty carefully.
My island was the pretty exclusive type when my kids were young. I was very careful who was in my life because of the influence they may have on my children and the fact that having 3 toddlers at once does not allow much time for socialization. Now that my children are older, I find that more bridges went up, sans checkpoints and reason, allowing more and more people onto my island. Before I knew it, my island had become overpopulated with people who I didn’t even really know well or even like for that matter.
I have decided to change that. I now want my island back to how it used to be. So, bridges have been removed and only one remains. Family and close friends pass through the checkpoint with ease and are always welcome. Acquaintances are a bit more scrutinized and people who have proven to be hurtful and have mean streaks are turned away. It is really sad that people who I thought of as friends have proven to be disloyal and hateful, but I have come to realize that these people are only detrimental to the dynamic of my private island and will no longer grant them access.
They are the proverbial bag of smoking giblets in the oven. Onced removed, the problem ceased to exist.