For years, I loved the holiday season. When I moved out of my mother’s home, I apparently ruined her holidays. She loved the holidays, over the top. As a teenager, actually my whole life, I hated living with my mom. It may have been that I was not a country girl, or that I never felt that she actually liked me. These are still issues I deal with. I began my family holiday tradition as soon as I moved out on my own. My soon to be husband and I spent Thanksgiving at his Aunt’s house. They made a huge spread and had the space for everyone. In my childhood, no matter where Thanksgiving was held, there was no place to sit. My mother’s family is full of hoarders. Space is a precious commodity, do not ever take it for granted.
My husband left me on October 31, 1999. Less than a month to Thanksgiving and the holiday season. It was confusing to me how to handle the holidays. I was informed I was welcome to join the family, but this was awkward. That year I found a bar that was open for Thanksgiving, with a potluck style dinner. It was perfect and I had a great night. Thus began my new tradition. Avoiding family during the whole silly season. Some asked why I did not create a new tradition with the kids? My view is that just because I cannot stand to be near their father, was no reason to change their holiday traditions. I am an adult, therefore I can act like one and not ruin their holidays. Something my mother never learned, I guess. The difference was that I refused to have my holidays ruined, but created a solution for my loneliness.
Moving to Seattle changed the entire holiday season. Now I had no car and I had no local bar. I spent my first Thanksgiving with some of my neighbors, another version of orphan holidays. As the years went by, I created my own family. This one based on my friends that I chose to spend time with. So for the fifth or so year in a row some of my dearest and closest friends will be sharing a meal with me and toasting to the blessing of the past year.
My teenagers even skipped their traditional Thanksgiving dinner a few times to spend it with me. I guess that speaks about the choices I have made. Sometimes family is more about who you relate to best and not blood.