An observation is not a complaint 7

It may be different for others but it’s the same as it always was for me.  That sentence is a bunch of words avoiding a simpler way to say, “It is what it is.”  I railed against that phrase on a blog post once.  It is, however, the right phrase for this observation.

And let me say before I make the observation that it doesn’t make me angry. It just makes me go hmmm.  It is so what it is.

I was talking to my mother and we had a rather meandering conversation including some discussion about the latest meal I’d put together (bluefish broiled with lime juice, lime zest and 2 dijon mustardsbrussel sprouts baked with bacon and maple syrup; and diagonally-sliced carrots in vegetable broth with a little lemon and marjoram).  What a delicious and pretty plate that made!.  It was so delicious I forgot to take a photo before we devoured it.

While sharing, an observation ran to the front of my mind that I’d thought of some weeks before but tucked away. The observation was that I’ve never had a holiday meal cooked by a man.  As a woman, I’ve never had a Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter dinner that was wholly prepared by a man or men folk.*   I asked my mom if she’d ever had one.  She had not.  Nor have any of my close friends. 

I wonder what it would be like to just show up at one of said holidays and know that all you had to do was sidle up to the table and eat.  You might bring a bottle of wine or some flowers but really, your role is to eat. Usually you don’t even have to clean up after the meal.

It would be very easy to get used to and expect such privilege.  It may be that you appreciate the privilege but after a while it must come to be that you don’t think of having such meals lovingly prepared by women as a privilege but as a right or as just the way things are done.  After a while how things are done can become how things should be done – tradition trumping change.

Privilege is never given up willingly.

This is just an observation.  I’m not bitter about it or anything.  It is what it is.  (Drat – okay – I’m putting away this phrase for a long time.)


*Last Christmas the turkey was prepared by my daughter’s Significant Other.  It was delicious but it wasn’t the whole meal.

** I have been a guest at a couple of dinners prepared by men. I’ve also known of a few men who do the majority of cooking in their families.  This has not been my experience.  To reiterate – I’ve never had a holiday dinner prepared by a man and this is the point of this post so don’t go correcting me (you know who you are).

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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7 thoughts on “An observation is not a complaint

  • jim

    I am surprised to hear this. In my experience, I have never had a holiday meal prepared exclusively by either sex. Every holiday meal I can remember was prepared communally. I have had both the good fortune to do nothing but eat, and the good fortune of doing nothing but the cooking and the cleaning. I recommend the former. Next year, if I host Thanksgiving, you will come to my home and do nothing but eat. It’s a fine experience, but don’t think for a minute that it’s anything too special.

  • David Mynott II

    You’re very kind, Candelaria, forgiving & gracious too. Many of us men are indeed lazy on that score. We should make more of an effort (including cooking) to demonstrate our sincere appreciation for the woman in our lives, & the love they so clearly display for us every day. Hear hear!

  • Candelaria

    We all have very different experiences.  Even the potlucks I’ve attended have mostly had dishes prepared by women.  Having enjoyed your hospitality, I know you can and often do cook.  We have already made plans for Thanksgiving – it’s such a family time – but thanks for having the generosity in your heart to issue an invite.

  • Candelaria

    Thanks for your comment and sentiment.  There are some men who cook.  Some women are indifferent to doing chores they deem “the man’s responsibility.”

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