Tomorrow will be the first Thanksgiving my husband has ever spent with our daughter, and is probably the only one my youngest son at 14 will remember spending with him.
He has been on the road working for 13 years, so Thanksgiving was a holiday which was sacrificed. Ironically it’s also my husbands favorite holiday. Mine? It was Halloween but it’s filled with painful triggers now, Laney wanted to be a princess this year, she was a witch. Have I mentioned I’m still healing?
My husband though loves Thanksgiving food…the football…the hunting…it was his holiday and he never got to celebrate it. To me it wasn’t a big deal, I like Thanksgiving as much as I do Valentines Day…I will not go into my Valentines rant, I’ll save it for Febuary…but Thanksgiving is just an excuse for men to sit on the couch and eat a bunch of food while we scramble around the week before baking and cleaning. The men go hunt in the morning and then fall asleep on the couch in the afternoon while we then clean up the mess. Let’s all go eat a turkey in honor of stealing and killing the native people of our great nation. I don’t like pumpkin pie and the smell of pecan pie for the last 25 years has made me sick…flu one Thanksgiving while the whole house smelled of pecan tarts.
Last year I spent Thanksgiving grieving for the marriage I knew was gone and the husband I had lost. I was broken and mad, I was a complete mess. I went “home” with the kids like I have every year my husband was on the road. Usually it’s a trip full of laughter, Black Friday madness with my sister, and visiting my extended family whom I never get to see.
Last year it was exhausting, I’m fun Kelly, the person who makes everyone laugh. I usually swoop into my sister’s house with new recipes to try, talking a million miles a minute, cussing like a sailor, and LAUGHING. I am Funny Aunt Kelly, the one who can make everyone’s favorites…Flan for my sister, Apple Pie for my brother-in-law, Parmesan Basil Orzo for my niece…I would start cooking as soon as my feet hit the kitchen, as my oldest niece and her best friend scrambled to clean behind me. The counter would be filled with kids laughing, my brother-in-law sneaking tastes, and wine glasses my sister would keep filled, I wasn’t a fan of Thanksgiving but I loved getting to be with my “family”.
When we went to my Grandma Totman’s for Thanksgiving Lunch I rarely took anything because my sister’s family didn’t want to share…”Nope we will leave that here for later” they would tell me. I learned to make a double recipe, because we don’t share well.
Last year I tried to put on a brave face, I wasn’t sleeping though…or barely eating…and I was so stinking sad. My laughter was fake, and the voices so loud in my head, I couldn’t bake. My husband was wearing me out with his emails, texts, and calls…always wanting to know if I was still talking to him, if I was okay, what I was thinking, it was draining. Worst thing though? My sister’s family was treating me like I was made of glass and could break at any moment. They hugged me too tight, watched me out of the corner of their eyes as I would try to eat, and laughed too hard at my feeble attempts at jokes.
I knew I wasn’t “Kelly” anymore and it was even more painful? Knowing they knew it too. When we went to my Grandma’s house, I was full of anxiety, I felt so fake walking in, as if everything I had ever said about my husband and marriage to them was lies, as if the family I was so proud of hadn’t ever existed. I couldn’t face my grandma’s smiling face, and what if she asked about my husband? She adored him, always had, how did I tell her my marriage was over, my husband a cheater, and my family broken?
Three times I tried to walk through the doorway to her kitchen, on the third try my sister walked in the family room and saw the tears streaming down my face. There we stood in the room we had played in as children, hid in as teenagers away from adults, and we held each other bawling. It was the final nail in the coffin for my hatred of Thanksgiving.
This year I am viewing the holiday with a new perspective. When a wrecking ball is taken to your life and you finally drag yourself out of the destruction? You get to pick through the rubble and decide what’s worth keeping and what needs to go to the dump.
“The whore” and her email to my husband last year, asking him to spend Thanksgiving with her, to help her make an Asian themed dinner cuz “they weren’t a traditional couple…so they shouldn’t do a traditional Thanksgiving” ? Last year the email drove me insane…even though in the email between them my husband told her he had to work and he wasn’t keen on her whole Asian Thanksgiving even if she had offered to make him a pecan pie ( I’m betting she buys her pie crusts, and her filling is grainy).
This year I’m gonna laugh at the fact that she didn’t even know him at all, her email just proves this. I’m going to put a muzzle on her whiny voice in my head, and enjoy the day. The holiday which was one of my least favorite has climbed in my holiday poll. I am going to be thankful for the blessings in my life, and work on letting go of the trash “the whore”, her bat shit crazy mom, and my husband’s affair brought into my family home.
Today I’m in my kitchen surrounded by kids eating fresh blackberry scones as I write this, and I will be hosting Thanksgiving this year. “Real” Pumpkin Pie sits in my fridge beside my Brother-in-laws favorite Apple pie, my turkeys are brined (yes…TWO Turkeys..one will be roasted in the oven, the other smoked), my refrigerator rolls are made. Last night I had some friends over and we made pies and Cranberry Jalapeno Jelly for our tables tomorrow while laughing and drinking wine.
My heart has been salvaged from the rubble… I have my family surrounding me, my husband will spend Thanksgiving with us and I am thankful.
Tomorrow as you all set down to eat, take a minute and look around, let the laughter and smells of the holiday embrace you, and remember to be Thankful for what you have…
“Don’t you ever say I just walked away
I will always want you
I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was wreck me”