My response changed based on the person, by the situation. I changed my perception based on the perception of others. This is NOT how a woman in her thirties is supposed to behave. Had I learned nothing on this journey in my thirties?
I thought and thought about this as we approached the holiday, and kept coming back to a conversation I had with my wonderful neighbor some time ago. She and her husband have two grown children, and are living the dream. Because her husband is a retired pilot, they travel anywhere, anytime, for free. They take great pride making their own alcoholic beverages. They host Downton Abbey parties. They are among the most giving and kind people I've ever known. I mean, seriously. THE DREAM.
Anyway, she told me awhile back that she-- like me-- was alone a lot in parenting. There's no way around the suckage of that. However, she reminded me, I have two choices in this situation. I can get angry and resentful. I can compare my life to the lives of the people around me and I can shine big giant spotlights on how much better their lives are than mine. I can wallow in my own self-pity and take my children down into the pit with me.
I can make the best of it. For my neighbors, it was about celebrating holidays on different days, when they could all be together. And if that didn't work out for whatever reason, they would understand that such-and-such was just a day, and wouldn't define them or their family unit. I can focus on all the blessings we have (COUNTLESS) and choose to be happy.
I'm not going to lie... we missed Daddy this year on Thanksgiving. We set a place for him:
We called him lots, but tried not to make him feel too bad (it's not like traveling over the holiday is easy for the person traveling...) We had a simple dinner with YeYe and NieNie and wrote what we were thankful for on the white tablecloth.
(Daddy, of course.)
And when I asked Daddy what he wanted me to write on the tablecloth for him this year, this is what he said:
Happy Thanksgiving from our silly, unconventional, wonderfully imperfect family to yours.