The Thanksgiving holiday is here, and everyone is celebrating with their family, as they should be. I am at home ordering a takeaway dinner and chasing discounts (see the sales here and here). I may or may not be drinking bubbly as well. It’s my way of hiding out from the holidays. While Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to join together and give thanks for the family you have, it is a somber time of year for me. The family that I do have has been so ripped apart from everything that has happened in life that I spend my holidays alone with my son. We have created a family dynamic that works perfectly for us, but it is very different from “normal.”
But who wants to be “normal” anyway? Well, during the holiday it would almost be a relief. Maybe? I remember the “normal” holidays from my childhood. The entire family would gather, all the food would be on the table, the conversation was lively, and the children were playing. It was a great period in the forefront of my life then. As a child, I didn’t know what was going on in the background.
What’s going on in the background is so much more important than what we see. And one day it all imploded. My family shattered and the holiday has never been the same. What was once a time to gather and be thankful became a time to disperse and be dreadful. I was young when this happened, and the adults are to blame, but for many years I thought I was the reason. I have kept my distance from my family because I felt like I was the reason everything went to hell. Because of one statement that was made to me, in the background, a responsibility that should never be laid on a child, I have carried this on my shoulders for a lifetime. This feeling is my inner turmoil, and no one is to blame but the voice in my head.
My son suffered through my divorce from his father as well. His relationship with his father’s family suffered as a result of our actions. So now it’s just the two of us. Most of the time it’s fine, but when the families get together and neglect to invite us, it stings, just a little. We are both strong, independent, and prideful so we wouldn’t dare invite ourselves. But this holiday is still hard. What makes it especially hard is scrolling through social media and seeing all the “normal” families celebrating and then BOOM there’s our family celebrating without us. Yeah, that one always hurts. This is one thing no one wants to talk about when it comes to divorce. You lose one side of your family, and it can be soul-crushing, especially around the holidays.
The past few years I have had dinner catered (it cost around $200, so it’s about the same if I had to buy the ingredients to cook), my son and I eat at our leisure, his friends drop in and out as they please, and we feel no pressure to perform. We have a huge dinner (Italian) coming, and I have extended an invite to a few of my friends who are feeling the holiday blues as well. Every year I build up this fantasy that I will cook a bomb feast and invite friends and the three family members I’m in contact with. Every year I accept what is and do what’s right for my son and me.
Nevertheless, it is Thanksgiving, and I have so much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my son’s health, and I am so thankful for his sense of humor. I am thankful for my health and that I have finally realized that although life may not always be fun, it’s always funny. I am thankful for the women who I have surrounded myself with that understand that our lives will never fit into the cookie cutter mold but we are awesome in spite of that, hell, we are the most awesome in spite of that. I am thankful for the good humans who inspire me to be a better human. I am thankful for my dogs who are the best teachers of unconditional love. I am thankful to be alive because so many people don’t have that opportunity. And just to be real, I am thankful for my chia pet eyebrows, that I finally don’t think I’m fat anymore, that I no longer get my self-esteem from other people (because who are they to tell me what I’m worth?), and I am thankful and just a little proud that I immediately block men who text me, “Good morning Beautiful.”
How is your holiday? What are you Thankful for? Tell me in the comments.