Wednesday, November 26, 2014

This Thanksgiving is a Gift

I think after the loss of a family member, it is pretty clear that the holidays are going to be prickly, surrounded by the thinnest layer of ice like one finds on a shallow puddle these cold mornings. Delicate.
All that water so close to the surface.
And I knew it was coming and saw my choices: maybe dive into the sadness or steel against it. I'm sure there are a lot of in betweens, too.

I was kind of shuffling back and forth like a boxer, trying to figure out what my move would be to this approaching holiday when the bell sounded. The match was canceled. My gloved hands fell to my side as I bewilderedly stared back at my husband.

"She isn't coming at all?"
"No, she doesn't feel well." he confirmed, talking about his mom.

We were quiet for a moment, both feeling out what to say and not say next.

"Should we go there?"
"No. She doesn't want anyone there. She doesn't feel well."
"Did you ask her?"
"For really reals you asked?"



We have no family coming to Thanksgiving.
All I have ever known was family coming to Thanksgiving.
I have no idea what this looks like. What this Thanksgiving is.

I don't need Linus coming out and saying "lo...." and having his speech about the true meaning of anything. I know the meaning of Thanksgiving is to give thanks and share love with one another and make some pie and bake some bread.

I have so many gifts around me that I don't have to name or list or count or share. Everyone knows. I am loud about it. My 3 children and my husband are my world, but my world, on Thanksgiving, has always been so much bigger. It has always had someone's brothers and someone's mother, and it used to have fathers, and it always had babies. Just this year, it will not.

I was blinking at it.

My husband is embracing the idea of change. We can do something completely different and enjoy it, a man who never favored the holiday or it's food. I can hear what he is saying and I can feel the turkey defrosting in the fridge. This day must occur. Food, parade, discomfort, more food.

I had about 18 hours of a little bah humbug creeping in. Nothing major. No need to be visited by ghosts or anything. And then my principal pointed at me while I was eating my lunch and said "I have a job for you. You will DJ our faculty/8th grade football game."

I will?
And then he pointed to my friend sitting next to me and recruited her as DJ, too.

What was originally a stunned, panicky feeling became a hilarious and wonderful time on the side of the field. I was struck by how much family I am surrounded by every day at work. I became the Grinch at the tip of the mountain, holding a sled aloft, heart 3 sizes too big.

I left school and went to the store and bought 2 new sleds and lots of candy for snowed in fun. I am going to make my kids help prepare the food (until I find that appropriately annoying) and we are going to decorate and my husband will build fires and we will maybe get our tree- he can saw that down.

This Thanksgiving is going to be different.
This Thanksgiving is going to be a gift.
I will toast those I miss with the love and joy of all I have.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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