Yesterday was an interesting day. The day following The Sister's departure, which turned out to also be an interesting day. Let's start with...
Sunday, the kid happened upon a penny and managed to put it in her mouth and start choking on it...she crawled into the room that C was in and started showing signs of having something stuck in her throat. C flipped out, did a maneuver she learned in "how to care for kids because you want to be state certified" class, years ago, and a penny popped out. We have no clue where this penny came from...Sister thinks it might have came from her stuff. Who can say? The important thing is, Kid is a-ok. Sister was acting calmer, too, which was good. I do love her, but having people in my space is not something I enjoy for long periods of time.
::warning - I blather on and on a bit here...::
Now...Monday...yesterday. Everything seemed fine, we decided to go out and have some fun at the bowling alley (about an hour away), but in the A.M. before we really got moving C tells me she has to talk to me. Her mom wrote her and said she wants her up there for Thanksgiving and wants the ENTIRE family together one last time (as her sister is moving states away and won't be able to easily get back to the main-land anytime soon...yes, she's moving to one of those non-48 states), so, she offered to pay for C to go up there. Now, this is HUGE. A year ago, they were hardly talking.
To digress a bit...when C moved down here from her old state, her mom didn't know she was gay (and I'm not quite sure how she didn't know, other than having blinders on that she chose to constantly wear)...she found out when her sister told her. Nice, huh? The sister who was NOT supposed to say anything, but evidently it weighed too heavily on her conscious and God wanted her to tell her mother. (yes, blame it on God) So...C was disowned and they didn't talk for a good year or two...then, they started talking and it's been up and down. C went up there recently for a wedding and stayed with her folks and she said it was like night and day. At first her mom was a bit reluctant and telling her that she knew she was unhappy with her life, and really needed to find God again, blah blah blah, but as soon as C informed her quite matter of factly that she was indeed quite happy and things were good, and the business was something she was actually good at, etc., things seemed to calm down a bit. C has been down here for 5 years coming up in December (our 5/yr anniversary). She told me they had a pretty good visit while she was around, and that things seemed positive.
This e-mail was shocking, to us both. It managed to really sock me in the gut with emotions I didn't realize I still really had, and I was kind of in a dumpy mood for a good chunk of the day. About 4 hours later I was fine with the whole thing, and it wasn't that I didn't want C to go, I told her immediately there was no question, she was going - an all expenses paid trip to home? Heck, even I'd jump on that if I could manage it. What really got stuck in me was some crap with my ex, that isn't really about the ex...it's about the holiday and holidays in general.
I remember at the age of 7 being told "this is the last Christmas we're celebrating", and before that, "this is the last birthday we're celebrating." I'm a 7 year old kid having fun holidays stripped from me because "that's what Jehovah wants." Ummmm...okay...who's this now? Oh, God wants me to not have what other kids have? Well, if you say so...and so went the years of humiliation of "I can't celebrate that because I'm a Jehovah's Witness." All us Witness kids were outcasts because of that...just like the kids who couldn't dance in gym class.
Growing up we went to my grandparents house for Christmas, because my mother refused to have any type of Christmas stuff in the house, and dad was fine with that. But, for Thanksgiving, he insisted that she make a decent meal for Thanksgiving and have my grandparents over. Every year that is honestly the ONLY holiday we celebrated, together, sans the complete weirdness. There were no presents to be opened, nothing really pressing to say, a joke about Saying Grace at the table every year, but that's it. We had leftovers, and the house smelled good, and it was nice. I could actually go to school and tell people that I had a nice holiday, that I got to spend it with my very small family, just like them. They all thought we could celebrate Thanksgiving because of that, even though I told them we didn't technically celebrate it, but my dad wasn't a Witness, so we got to have food...it didn't make much sense, and typing it out I see why, but it was what I had.
When I moved to Florida at the age of 24, I was used to celebrating Thanksgiving with friends, and had started to adjust to the idea of birthdays and Christmas, the 4th of July and Halloween (wow, that's an awesome holiday, and was one of my favorites as a kid...I think the last time I went trick or treating was also at age 7). I got to go door to door with my (1st) ex's little sisters the first year I had moved down, and that was the first time I'd been trick or treating since being a kid - that was so much fun, and so amazing to realize just what I had been missing out on...just the family feel of it and enjoyment of getting to go around and show everyone your cute costume, etc. It's a silly thing to do, IMHO, but I enjoyed it. I will also say I do remember us handing out Halloween candy a few times when I was a kid - I was in charge of that even though I couldn't go out and trick or treat. I got to pick out the candy, too - I remember one year it was the Reggie Bar (Reggie Jackson being my favorite baseball player, it just seemed right to bestow him upon everyone who dared to bother to ask me for my candy).
Thanksgiving, for me, was the one solid holiday I understood and appreciated. I tried to do the whole Christmas thing with both the ex's, but it never felt completely "right". The entire "reading of the Christmas Story", opening presents, etc. - I get it, and I enjoy it a little more each year, even decorating has become something I like to see, but it's not as huge of a deal as Thanksgiving was.
The first year I got together with my (2nd) ex, "The Ex", as we were together over 9 years, she couldn't spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with me. She had to go to her family's, and I got left at home. I didn't mind Christmas as much as I did Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was really, really lonely...I can't recall if it was only one year or two she did this, but she finally put her foot down and I quickly got invited up by the family - then I became part of it. For Christmas they made me a stocking to go along with everyone's, and felt kind of sorry for me for not having the whole Christmas Spirit understanding...I didn't want pity, and was quite happy to go to movies or do something else with my time instead of sitting around talking about new babies bowel movements with the ladies (the guys, the two, son and father - I didn't fit in there, either). But, Thanksgiving, again, was important to me. We started having that at our house each year and would invite over anyone who didn't have anywhere else more pressing to be...we always ended up with a couple of friends without family, and it was our own holiday, our own time. It was nice. It became tradition. We'd have to go up there for Christmas each year, but stayed at home for my favorite holiday.
With C, we've done much the same thing with Thanksgiving. With Christmas, since my folks didn't celebrate it - dad doesn't care, and now mom's not around this year, so I'm sure he won't care doubly, we never go anywhere, and just enjoy the day to ourselves. Thanksgiving dad comes over - the first year we were up here, they both came over. That was the last Thanksgiving I'd spend with my mother...last year she was hospitalized and couldn't come (but kept telling me she'd be there with us...suddenly in her mental state it became important for her to join us, which was actually really comforting). This year, now it's just me and maybe dad if he wants to come over.
I could go to a couple of other places, but they're both 2.5/hrs away, and I don't want to leave the kitties alone on Thanksgiving just so that I can go and eat somewhere else (with a 5/hr round trip)...
All this stuff was going through my head yesterday and made me a bit miserable for awhile while I worked it all out. I'm perfectly fine with C going up to see her family, and I booked the ticket for her today and the rental car. It's good she's getting to go. I know she'll miss me, but that's part of life, and she thinks it might do us both some good (I've told her it will do HER some good, and me some good if it does her some good - for me, I'll be working and taking care of the house - double duty during our busiest season, but I can handle it). It's good to miss your partner, I agree...but the selfish side of me, which is pretty small, generally speaking, wishes that I could be with her on this one holiday. It's the one I care about, and maybe I'll learn to appreciate it even more with her absence. I don't think I'll feel as neglected as I did the first year with The Ex, not at all - different reasons here, completely...but, I know I'll be a little melancholy in some respect - just because it seems the numbers are dwindling...and I hope that it doesn't turn out to be permanent for any reason anytime in the near future (dad's not getting any younger, and neither am I).
So...my Thanksgiving will be unique this year, again, and maybe that's a good thing?