We have all had them.
Holidays where loved ones shunned us. Times when dear friends died. Just those shitty times that we thought were going to be wonderful, but somehow turned out quite differently.
Well, yeah. Nothing horrible happened this year. I mean, 12 years ago, my middle sister had a fatal car wreck outside Atlanta, so this year was pretty tame.
Still and all – perspective and all that aside: middle son went “back home” this Thanksgiving. Let me clarify: two months after he graduated, our family moved 1500 miles away from where he grew up and graduated high school. Since then, he has come home to what – for all intents and purposes – is not home. This Thanksgiving, his dearest friend had her debutante ball, and he was invited. Her family, who has always loved my son, invited his attendance at this important family occasion. How could I object?
He got to see his middle and high school friends. Be a part of his dearest friend’s family. See his old teachers and mentors. I’m not mad.
My eldest son and his girlfriend had a baby earlier this month. I have a granddaughter. This Thanksgiving they wanted to do a “new family” thing. I get that. I have been there. Establish your own turf – what and how you want to mark the holidays and the passing of time. How can I object?
Youngest son is still at home. So, I guess he’s stuck. We had a fantastic meal that we prepared together. We watched movies. We talked. We made Christmas plans. Nothing to object to.
The funny thing is: I have always been the person who wanted some version of Clark Griswold’s holidays. I want a house crammed with people and pets and food and drink. I have never had that. Two marriages. Three kids. One grandchild. What I have always thought I wanted has never happened. But…
… it was a Thanksgiving with one person (a great person, don’t get me wrong!), and was a hard one. Well, it was hard for a minute. Then, it was pretty great once I remembered to embrace what is.
We all get it – right? No one owes us anything. And, often the whole grass-is-greener scenario is all too real. But, think about this: if this first holiday of the season wasn’t exactly what you wanted: it’s ok. If it was a hard one: it’s ok. Things didn’t turn out how you wanted? It will be ok.
This holiday season, I resolve to embrace what is. Enjoy every person who is there. Enjoy every minute of every candle, carol, and cookie.
My hope for everyone who reads this is that during this holiday season – regardless of your religious and cultural ties – you are able to take time and have love for all of those in your life.
Let go of preconceived notions and unrealistic demands. Just be. Let the happiness of the season – the happiness of being alive – envelop you in its graciousness.