thanksgiving leftovers

In reviewing my upcoming Thanksgiving menu, I realize I miss drunken nights, or Sunday mimosa afternoons, where everything’s slower, sloppy, and truthful.  Space stops separating as we fall into each other.  There’s no space between us.  No one lowers the music; we feel more alive. I do. 

I’ll prepare too many sides and courses and starches, and I’ll fixate on setting the table just so.  Bacon fat will render and crackle beneath green slivered jewels and ropes of maple syrup, and I’ll lick the wooden spoon and grate fresh nutmeg.  And it will feel like home, but it won’t be the same.  Because you won’t keep filling my glass, or kissing my neck, near the sink, where hands will be wiped on striped towels instead.  I’ll wonder about mixing branches with red berries and gourd-shaped candles.  A glass bowl filled with autumn leaves.  We’ll be four, maybe five people, but I’ll cook as if we’re twelve because that’s what I do because leftovers are Thanksgiving. 

I’ll think about all of it, keeping lists, dog-ear magazine articles about next-day turkey ideas.  My search for the perfect stuffing concoction will be pursued, but really, all I’ll be thinking is, “Champagne goes so well with Turkey.” 

I don’t just want a sip.  I want to get drunk, for the world around me to slow, for the music to consume me, to be touched again.  To be handled.  Someone to dance with me, his hand on the small of my back, and not want to stop, or only go through half a song.  I want linger.

I exhaust you into a tailspin.  I crave affection from you, touch.  Back massages and scratches and bedtime stories.  You want to “just be,” to not have to.   And it’s hard for me, watching us slipping into our own pockets of the house, even if we’re beside each other.  I don’t want space between us.  It’s another want: what I don’t want.  I know they say to give yourself what it is you need, but I can’t give myself touch from another person.  I can’t massage myself, or kiss my back, or offer to rub lotion.  You don’t want those things when I offer them to you.  You want to watch Letterman or Leno not smell Lavender.

You know my belly now has hair on it?  I’m fuzzy.  I mean, it’s white and blond, and no one would know, but it’s there.  I shaved it off the other day, but now it’s growing back.  I have too many hormones and I want.  I want.  I want. And maybe it’s just the hormones, but maybe that’s too easy.  Maybe I was this way before I was pregnant.   

When I express my want it gets flipped and used against me.  You have wants too.  I wish I were drunk so this would be easier to say or ignore.  But I miss touch, and the way it seems easier in the past.  How I didn’t have to ask.  How you’d offer.  I want lotion, to be touched and caressed, and to feel again, anything besides this ache.




  2. A girlfriend of mine told me that when she was pregnant she began to feel insignificant. With her significant other, with her family and her friends. It was ALL about the baby. She said she felt like "tupperware for the next generation".

    Champagne does go nicely with turkey though. And it still will next year.

  3. Stephanie,
    You're just pregnant and crazy in the head right now. It'll pass. :)

    Hormones are funny things.

    I liked this entry a lot. You can tell it came straight from your thoughts and it was raw.

  4. This might be one of my favorite posts because it is so honest and I can relate so well. Touch is so important– I have to have soft fabrics around me constantly. A man's touch, cashmere, soft worn linen sheets. And I love wine because it is almost like a letter of introduction into that world of sensuality.

  5. the ache to get drunk? what is the ache?

    You obviously didn't get strong Greek genes if all you complain about are blonde light-colored hair that only appears after you are pregnant!

    I would miss getting drunk too if i was pregnant.

  6. I can feel your want through your words. You don't have to be pregnant to feel that way. I often feel that way with my boyfriend as well. We are both so busy in our lives that sometimes, I just want to be held. Nothing more, nothing less, simply held in his masculine arms knowing that he loves me and is there to protect and be with me and only me.

  7. I feel the same way after 2 yrs of marriage. I've never been pregnant so I can't tell you if its the hormones.

    I am needy, maybe even high maintenance. I call him in the middle of the day to see how his day is going, I miss him when I'm away, I get lonely. He's always fine, just fine. Says that he does need me but doesn't act like it. He's so independent, so content being just him.

    I need to be touched, need to have my jokes laughed at, need to feel pretty, and intelligent, and successful. He doesn't need affirmation. Does that make me high maintenance?

    I went on a business trip, got drunk, hooked up with a co-worker. Thought I would feel terribly guilty but I didn't. I woke up hung over and wanting to kiss the other man again. I loved feeling beautiful again, feeling wanted, feeling funny and smart. I never thought I'd be one to cheat. Why did I do it and why don't I feel terrible?

    Now I'm plagued with incessant thoughts. What does it all mean? Do I leave my staunchly independent husband before we bring kids into the picture? Or is this just marriage…comes with the territory?

  8. The God that created you with the want for satisfaction is the same God who wants to satisfy you.

    At least that’s what I hear. I know there’s a million spaces in me that my husband will never satisfy. But it rarely stops me from wanting him to.

    Beautiful Post.

  9. The things that you don't want are as important as the things you do want sometimes. Hormones are an unexplainable thing to men and they just don't get it sometimes. It's the little things and they have to continue even after they have courted us.

  10. Stephanie,
    Sounds like you're not having the best of days. Maybe it's the hormones, maybe not. Hang in there though, and know my thoughts are with you and I hope things look up soon..

  11. Wow, I thought you were writing about the past tense and then came into the present. I guess everyone in a relationship feels like this sometimes, too though. I'm sorry you're achy / sad. I bet a prenatal massage will do wonders for you – I highly recommend the Crossings in Austin – thecrossingsaustin.com or Lake Austin Spa lakeaustinresort.com. Pamper yourself through this soft spot.

  12. Sorry – Lake Austin Spa is http://www.lakeaustin.com. and they have this: Mom-To-Be Massage –
    Gentle aromatherapy massage for mothers-to-be. Expect a great massage with beautifully scented aromatherapy oils of lavender, neroli, red tangerine and ylang ylang, bolstered with borage oil – excellent for cell regeneration, circulation and stretch mark prevention. Special pillows and bolsters make this a safe and soothing massage for mothers-to-be.

  13. Raw. Your honesty is beautiful.

    You need to be touched, held, loved, desired even more when you're pregnant. No one can understand the neediness (and that's not exactly a negative thing) and depth of emotion that comes with pregnancy. I remember the feelings so vividly, like it was yesterday, although it's been almost 7 months since I was pregnant.

    Because now you can't just pick up and leave if it gets hard. That's what scared me the most. Nor can you drown your thoughts with a nice glass of riesling and a steaming hot bubble bath. Now you need more to be taken care of and considered. Not only that, but you have your child in the back of your mind (both of them in your case).

    I crave his touch now even more, when we have to fit it in between breastfeeding, diapers, and naps. Stolen moments are treasured for me; quickies for him. He loves it and I feel rushed.

    The belly fuzz will go away. I promise. Hopefully the ache will, too.

  14. I have the best reciepe for Thanksgiving leftovers. Turkey Browns. Slices of toast cut in the diagonal – then layer what whatever leftovers you want (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole) top your creation with slices of bacon, and THEN Cheddar Cheese Soup. Put under the broiler and enjoy. I use to have this with my family in Florida – and have not had it since I moved away 5 years ago.

  15. Wow! It's when I read your post above and some of the reader comments (from Sarah) that I thank my lucky stars I am still single (and very picky) at the age of 30. I can't imagine being stuck in a loveless marriage, where your partner isn't committed to trying to understand your needs. It's like your own personal jail.

  16. Cheating on your husband does not just come with the territory. Missing the flirty single days does happen though. Until you realize that everything is rosier in hindsight. Stephanie, my only advice is to talk to your husband now, because if you have simmering animocity while pregnant, when these kids come, it becomes full blown rage. Because you won't come second — you'll be a distant fourth.

  17. Something about your post today made me want to respond – it's my first time.

    As a single twenty-something living in NYC, that "space" that you write about (and so eloquently, I might add) is something that I feel every day, too. I work full time and go to grad school at night and sometimes all I want is someone to rub away the stress and ache from my shoulders after a long day or have a hot cup of tea ready for me when I get home after a 14-hour day. But that someone doesn't exist and so I continue through each day wondering if that "space" will ever be filled or if I'll somehow just get used to the "space" one day. It's amazing how, as human beings, we seem to crave the touch of others, whether we're married, pregnant or single… maybe I'll go book a massage!

  18. You are still newlyweds. Hormones are affecting you, yes, but being in separate spaces already? I'm not sure why that is or if we readers have that right to ask, but you sound lonely in your house with the man you love. With two babies in the picture soon, it won't be about you or the two of you for a long time to come, but it can be a different kind of space sharing that can be filled up with two extensions of both of you. One day at a time. Feel better.

  19. Stephanie,
    Ay, yi, yi… this is the hard part of being married and pregnant and a mother. Things that came so easily before (the "just the two of us" stuff) fall by the wayside. Don't know what to say…. Communicate your wants as best you can and hope that he realizes that now and the next few months are the last time that you will be just the "two of you". When the babies come, they will demand your attention, to be held, and you may even not want to be touched by your husband at the end of the day… weird yes, but true. It passes eventually but be prepared for it.

  20. I feel your words. I too wanted to just be wrapped in big strong arms 24/7 when I was pregnant. As for the drinks, sparkling juice in a champangne chute made me feel sophisticated and relaxed. And I promise the peach fuzz that engulfs one's body does go away….no more shaving! Enjoy the winter coat :) Its one of the only occasions women are allowed to embrace a little fuzz!

  21. Hello Stephanie, I felt so sad to read your blog today. I understand your yearning to be touched and do not think these needs makes us "high maintenance", it is just part of who we are.

    I live in Australia, read your blog regularly and enjoy so much your openness, warmth and honesty.

    You will be a beautiful mum and I am sure your little babies will not crave touches and cuddles as you will shower them with much love so they will feel so content and secure.

    Take good care, be gentle and kind to yourself. Frances

  22. Your loneliness sounds so innocent and human. I love that you have put this feeling into such beautiful prose and I am not the only one who feels it.

    Sometimes I feel like the room separating my boyfriend and myself is too big and I wish with all of my might he will come to me and hug me. Sometimes the wishing hurts my head and fills me with doubt, so I go to him. Its not always the same. I secretly hope that he feels the same way and by going to him, I kept him from that headache from wishing me close to him.
    We are different creatures, yet the same.

    Its a short moment, and it passes. That is the hardest part to remember.

    I will drink my next drink to you and hope that when I am pregnant, that I am blessed with twins and that you will have a drink for me in return.

  23. It sounds like hormones, but maybe Husband isn't tending to you as he should. I don't think anyone's ever ready for the complications and emotions of pregnancy.

    I vote that you ask him directly for what you need and want, even if it sounds clingy. You leave things unsaid for too long and they'll sneak up on you and suddenly a Little Thing is a Big Thing. Men can be really dumb about this kind of thing sometimes. He probably has no idea.

  24. i cant feel upset for you. we can all feel emotions/ bad days and good days. I get it. But you are so freakin' successful, you are a pretty girl, you have a husband who loves you (we are all still awaiting the wedding photos by the way), you have a gorgeous gorgeous house you got in Austin, great finances due to doing something you adore doing, you are having your dream, children, and twins at that. I can't feel sorry for you. I'm sorry.

  25. What a pile of dung. I can deal with self-absorption. It's the pretentiousness that made the bile rise for me. The name dropping, label obsessing, the un-oaked chardonnay, gotta marry a Jewish doctor even though the signs were there that he was a tool….You can take the girl out of Long Island, but you can't take the Long Island out of the girl.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Clearly, you want to drive traffic to your blog by posting something like this (so I'm deleting your URL). You're way too late on the "Stephanie Klein is pathetic" wagon. And I genuinely roll my eyes at your attempts. Nothing you've said has been original or thought-provoking. It's actually easy to be mean and carve people into two-dimensions, like a string of paper dolls. So I won't do it, or host a home for you to do it here. You're not banned because you criticize me but because you're an attention-seeker, and way worse than leather hotpants.

  26. I know exactly what you mean. I am pregnant and recently moved back the the northwest with my husband. The rain has set in and I crave sitting by the fire with a big glass of red wine, feeling the buzz and warm come over me. I have a sip from time to time but it isn't the same as the feeling you get after a glass or two.

    I also know what you mean about craving a touch. When we moved out here we left most of our friends and family behind. I think when it is just the two of you there is more pressure on your spouse to make up for all the touches and experiences that you miss from your friends, like hugs you exchange while giggling or while consoling. When close friends are around you have more of these comforts so when it isn't always coming from your spouse it isn't as big of a deal, or isn't as noticed.

    hang in there! :)

  27. Pregnancy, hormones, and maybe a bit of homesickness can do a real number on you. I don't think you need a drink; I think you need a hug. Ask for one, or better yet, go grab one, and don't let go until you feel better!

  28. Reading your words took me back. And I tried to remember all of the details. And what I did remember is how we had no time after the boys came. The thought of touching was not even a thought except for the quickies we could have while they were sleeping. Unfortunately, he will be the one regreting not having the time alone with you after the guppies come because it will no longer be about him. Keep your chin up. And just remember tomorrow will be another day of complete different emotions. Thank God

  29. To Julie: No I didn't have sex with my co-worker. We kissed and that was pretty much it. But it was enough to provoke several hours of internal reflection on my part. I don't think I'll ever tell my husband. My marriage is not a jail. In many ways my husband satisfies me and in a few very specific ways he does not. I'm sure there are times when he feels the same way about me. I realize that I'm most likely suffering from a "grass is always greener" train of thought. Or maybe an aching for a the single days of flirting and innocent hookups. In an intimate partnership, no one on the outside can tell you what's what. I wish someone could say, this is totally normal or get out now before you have children. Its just not that black and white. Yes, I'll stick it out. Its work, to try to communicate your needs, without sounding desperately needy. But its worth it and perhaps when those babies do arrive it will spark a new level of intimacy and touch that we never experienced before.

  30. I remember when I was pregnant how much I wanted to drink. I am not a big drinker but it was the one thing I missed so much when I was pregnant. I would get jealous sometimes because others could drink and I couldn't. The payoff is so worth it though, a healthy child (in your case, children).

    I can remember having very strange emotional meltdowns too. I am a huge sports fan and my husband (at the time) and I were going to go to a Super Bowl party, I had a huge meltdown because I didn't want to go (I don't remember why) and said all kind of things like "I hate the Super Bowl" and stuff like that.

    Touch is so important. I loved foot rubs when I was pregnant. He got so sick of me asking for them.

    Hang in there.

  31. Hi Sarah,

    I highly recommend a book called The Passionate Marriage by David Schnark (sp?)(the book, not the audio tapes). You can read the reviews on Amazon. It's all about being "differentiated" from your partner, being your own person, as opposed to having a fused relationship with your partner (which is where you see one person being needy / clingy and the other person pulling away). It's about the ability to be share intimate things with your partner without requiring certain reactions from him or her. Anyway, you might find it helpful.

    p.s. – I highly doubt that having babies will give you and your husband new levels of intimacy. If anything, it will make your relationship harder, not easier.

  32. Blah, blah, blah. Didn't do anything for me. (Maybe it's just because I'm a guy.) But . . . at least it was well written and introspective. And that is why I continue to tune in. While this post may not have "lifted my skirt," I still see that there is potential for a future post to do so.

  33. I am wondering if your husband reads the posts (since it was obviously directed at him) and if so, does that affect how you write it? This has been one of my biggest problems with blogging. Too many people I know read it and I can't just come out and say what's on my mind half the time. I think it gets boring as a result.

    Your life is about to change in a huge way. The stress of the twins cannot help but overwhelm you in a profound way. My first year with my twins was a blur… you're on full-scale survival mode, even tho' you love every minute of it. When you become a mother, it really must become all about them, especially in their baby years.

  34. Strange. Perhaps it is me but I didn't necessarily interpret your post Stephanie as a complaint against your marriage. I interpretted it as it wishing that someone could anticipate your need for affection. To give it willingly and thoughfully without you having to ask for it. It just isn't the same when you have to ask for a massage or for a hug.

    I am pregnant too and often wish that my husband would just anticipate my desire for affection. We have a very solid marriage, but I still find that there are days, especially of late, that I would just love to be pampered in affection. Affection solely placed on me and my comforts. Some may claim that is selfish and others on pregnancy hormones, but I think that it is just human nature.

    We all want and need affection and love in our lives; it is just some days it feels like we never get it.

  35. What a heartfelt post, and I really felt I could relate.

    Have you ever read the book "The Five Love Languages"? It's kinda cheesy, but…boils it down in a way even Husband can get. It's short, and makes a lot of sense. I read it, and figured out that my language is definitely Touch. I need to be held/touched/etc in order to feel love. Even little things go a long way, like squeezing my hand as we pass in the hall.

    Couldn't get my husband to read the book, but I told him about what I was learning, and he did respond and it made a difference. I'd like him to figure out what his 'love language' is so I can show him love in the way that he responds to best.

    On a side note, I just found out yesterday that I'm preggers too. Yay :) My husband's mom is an identical twin, so maybe we have a chance??

  36. That was a beautiful post and I know that you feel loved by The Suitor and I hope you feel tended to soon. My other thought in reading the commnents is: what is with commenters on blogs threatening to stop reading the blogs? I've only noticed this recently (similar comments were made on another of my favorite blogs a couple of days ago). I think that if you don't want to read a blog, don't… but why announce it? I'm very glad to get to read your blog every day.

  37. Don't you just love how when you're pregnant you can't have a valid emotion because everyone just brushes it off as hormones?

  38. this troubles me greatly. to me, getting married and having a child means you HAVE to do things sometimes that you don't necessarily want to. you are taking one for the team – the team being your family.
    pregnancy is stressful physically and i can't imagine carrying twins. breast feeding twins will be stressful physically, too. a husband HAS to do his part.

  39. Human touch is so essential. I've been divorced for a long time, but I still crave it. So much so, that on weekends alone, I get one or two massages, a facial, a pedicure…something that makes me feel something. Nothing can replace just plain ol' human touch.

    But the advantage of hiring touch, is I can go home and not have to listen to anyone else's problems, desires, issues. I can go home and just be contented in my own skin. I'm not advocating divorce, mind you…but it does have its advantages.

    One more thought – pregnancy hormones are definitely tricky to deal with. I love the suggestion of the mommy massage above – that and a glass of sparkling water might just do the trick.

  40. This is a great post, and the comments stemming from it resonate with me. Lately I'm all about dispelling the myth that our partners can be fulfilling to us in every way, or that anyone can ever fill that space just how we want them to. I think we grow up believing in a fairy tale about "the one," the "perfect match." What's more real is that couples fill in the essential spaces for each other, and we stay because the important bases are covered: trust, love, respect, communication. But the emotions that flow through us every day are way too intricate to be tracked in parallel by anyone else. I'm learning to embrace the intricacy as part of living, the yearning as part of life.

  41. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! again, i WANT to like him, i really do. because you do. (i don't understand why, but you do. and i want to understand too. if only to keep liking you.)

  42. I got married on Oct. 18 and had my baby on Oct. 22. Quite the honeymoon! That was in 1996. After 6 months of "dating," and at the age of 22. Two children and 10 years later we are still together. You will experience this feeling a million more times in your marriage. Sometimes you will find reprieve and sometimes you will wonder if you are going to make it through. The little things like a glass of wine or a comment from a stranger will get you by. You are headed for the biggest learning experience of your life. You will be amazed at what you discover, good and bad. Hang in there…

  43. It's not the hormones talking Stephanie. You deserve to be pampered and lovingly caressed at this time. Your body is sheltering his children, the children you have made together. The physical strain of carrying them and the upcoming births will take a toll on you. Now is when you need him to do special things for you, just small gestures like kissing your shoulder when he walks by. I don't think you are asking too much by wanting to feel beautiful and desired.Every woman wants to, especially when she is carrying life within her.

  44. I understand completely. It usually starts out as the nagging feeling that something is missing, tugging you at the temples. Then you realize that you just need to be enveloped by something, consumed by something that isn't a project or empty diversion or the ache of what was. Oftentimes, when things are great on paper we fall into ourselves with the assumption that everything is fine; this may have happened to the Suitor. We don't voice the new wants and needs for fear of sounding whiny or needy, then they get left untended. The longer they're left untended, the stronger these cravings become. This isn't a craving for bistro frites or shoes, this won't go away with a new distraction. When I feel this way I just lay on my floor and listen to Etta James' 'a Sunday Kind of Love' with a scotch until I feel better or think I feel better. I don't advise this course of action to anyone. I just hope that the Suitor read your post and gets it. It doesn't have to be forced affection, it can just has to be.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I understand, you're not alone, I know it's horrible and although I don't know you, I know you'll be fine.

  45. one more comment to stephanie –
    i think it is great that you are telling him what you need. a lot of people just smolder and that's toxic. if he chooses to respond petulantly, well, there's nothing you can do about it but at least you have the moral high ground. and with the babies coming,you might think about beginning to define your roles/chores and start figuring out who will do what etc. (mostly because you both work from home which will make things confusing). as in 'who is the primary caregiver?' 'who will cook dinner?' all of that stuff obviously you can't set everything in stone but i found that with babies there's so much that men assume you are doing. you start resenting that it is all your job etc.
    or they don't understand how hard breastfeeding is, or the fact that after you give birth you are in pain and bleeding for weeks. in one previous post, your husband seemed resentful about doing too many chores. so it might be a good idea to figure all that stuff out ahead of time, even if you have help because even then you will have so much stuff to do. i have an INCREDIBLY placid marriage and i can tell you that we NEVER had fights – until our baby came.
    good luck!

  46. Oh, wow…beautiful post.

    I'm going through a lot of things right now (not pregnancy) and I often just ask my boyfriend for a hug, or take his hand when we're out walking. All of the changes are so scary…I guess I just need to know I'm not alone. I need for him to touch me, even in a non-sexual way…just to reaffirm that special bond and intimacy that we share as a couple.
    Right now, that physical closeness is more important than words…I can't even express just what is going on. I just need to know that he's there for me. Not to solve my problems with my family…but just that I have someone to walk this road with.

  47. Sarah,
    Im not the one who said you live in a jail. Just to clarify that…

    But I do think you have some serious issues if you have been unfaithful to the man you exchanged vows with, claim you feel no guilt, yet, you think having a child will bring you closer.

    I dont mean this as an attack on you. I seriously dont.
    But these are the things Im seeing among my own friends and makes me leary of marriage in general. I know it's give and take and they dont call it a partnership for nothing, but come on.

    Im not sure what I would do if I was in your shoes. Well, actually, I do. Im a selfish person and I'd be so riddled with guilt I would have to confess to him what I had done, regardless if it might end my marriage, the guilt alone would kill it in the longrun.

    Children complicate things. They are wonderful, mystical little people who depend on you to bring them up in the best environment you can provide.

    I dont mean this nasty, but I hope you dont purposely bring a child into a situation like that. I suggest you confess to your husband and seek counseling. At least, that is what I would do.

    And if your marriage is still standing and you do find happiness in this union, then you consider children.

    I dunno, man. Your post just kind of scared me.

    I hope things get better for you.


    Phil is a doctor? I didnt know that. I cant imagine his hours. No wonder you're feeling somewhat neglected.
    I still say it's hormones though. There were times I thought I was seriously losing my mind when I was pregnant.

  48. I hope this is getting posted two, three times. My server is acting crazy.

    Im not the one who said you live in a jail. Just to clarify that…

    But I do think you have some serious issues if you have been unfaithful to the man you exchanged vows with, claim you feel no guilt, yet, you think having a child will bring you closer.

    I dont mean this as an attack on you. I seriously dont.
    But these are the things Im seeing among my own friends and makes me leary of marriage in general. I know it's give and take and they dont call it a partnership for nothing, but come on.

    Im not sure what I would do if I was in your shoes. Well, actually, I do. Im a selfish person and I'd be so riddled with guilt I would have to confess to him what I had done, regardless if it might end my marriage, the guilt alone would kill it in the longrun.

    Children complicate things. They are wonderful, mystical little people who depend on you to bring them up in the best environment you can provide.

    I dont mean this nasty, but I hope you dont purposely bring a child into a situation like that. I suggest you confess to your husband and seek counseling. At least, that is what I would do.

    And if your marriage is still standing and you do find happiness in this union, then you consider children.

    I dunno, man. Your post just kind of scared me.

    I hope things get better for you.


    Phil is a doctor? I didnt know that. I cant imagine his hours. No wonder you're feeling somewhat neglected.
    I still say it's hormones though. There were times I thought I was seriously losing my mind when I was pregnant.

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