An introduction to the series

By Jennifer Foote Sweeney

Published November 20, 2000 8:30PM (EST)

We are, you may have noticed, a somewhat unsentimental bunch here at Mothers Who Think. At least we seem that way. It is not that we lack sensitivity. It's just that we are frequently overwhelmed by the raw emotion to which we are exposed, most often in writing. When we are crabby, we recognize this as an occupational hazard to be accepted with the impatient sighs of editors and tsking of harried mothers. Most of the time, we are smart enough to recognize this outpouring as a great honor, and we receive our literary windfall with all the grace and gravitas that we can manage.

We are particularly blessed during the holidays, when the bounty of words reaches an early apex in the days before Thanksgiving. Is it any wonder that this historically suspect event should be the ultimate domestic crucible? Relatives converge at the scene of myriad crimes to negotiate an obstacle course of extra chairs, lifelong grudges, dip, football, prescription medication and bourbon. "Liberty and justice for none" is the motto; prix fixe rules the day. (And the prix is often prohibitively high.)

You want to say, "Don't try this at home!" Instead, we at Mothers Who Think say, "Write and survive!" "Read and live another day!" For the next three days, our site will feature essays for which Thanksgiving is the muse; essays that may distract from the pleasure or dread that precedes the day but will very certainly be worth reading. (A handy recipe will be included.)

And, for those who endure the sort of unharmonic convergence that bears retelling, if only to relieve the trauma, we invite you to write it up and send it in. We will post a selection of short notes (and e-mailed photos) in the healing spirit of "There but for the grace of God go I," as readers stumble through the emotional aftermath of this holiday and prepare for the next.

Send your contributions to And remember: Much adversity can be avoided on these occasions by maintaining good posture.

Jennifer Foote Sweeney

Jennifer Foote Sweeney, CMT, formerly a Salon editor, is a massage therapist in northern California, practicing on staff at the Institutes for Health and Healing in San Francisco and Larkspur, and on the campuses of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley.

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Middle East Thanksgiving