I have NEVER spent a major holiday all by myself. This year, I did. Alone, with nobody else.
I didn’t plan it that way at first, but as the holiday approached, I decided to get totally out of my comfort zone, and give it a try. I was successful, but also failed. Let me tell you about that.
There are no more mom and dad, nor aunts and uncles left. At 51 1/2 my siblings and cousins ARE the next generation alone. My brother and his family live in Miami, and have for like 25 years. I can’t remember the last major holiday we’ve spent together. My sister lives in Chicago, and I certainly could have had her over. I’m not totally sure what her plans were. We kind of did our Thanksgiving on Monday with her, and my one cousin and our kids. And that was cool. But, I just decided that I would try this by myself.
Obviously there have been 50 previous Thanksgivings in my life. MOST of those were spent with my mom’s sister and their two families. Mostly down by them, but at other places too. When I got married, Thanksgiving was always at my Ex Mother in Law’s house. Big huge family, and she’s a pretty good cook. I didn’t really fit in well there though. That’s all another story.
Since the divorce 9 years ago, I have had Thanksgiving with friends, or my sweets. Jennifer Gilow-Rivera hosted many many years at her house for all us lonely souls. Ever grateful for that. I hosted one year for everyone. I’ve done that for Christmas eve as well.
I’ve spent various major holiday’s volunteering at Church, or working at the runaway shelter as well. But in all the years I was never ALONE.
My kids are with mom, and her giant family, and I am TOTALLY cool with that! They have only had one or two Thanksgivings with me. They should see their cousins and aunts and uncles and all that. The three/four of us can hang other times, and do plenty.
I didn’t originally plan it this way. There were various “possibilities” out there. But as I waited, I realized none of those were going to happen. So, I made a decision. I was going to try doing this on my own. Thinking about the future, and where family is at, I came to the conclusion that, I may very well have some holidays in my near future where I am alone. So, I wanted to see what that was like. So I prepared for it to be just that way.
Like many things in life, I had absolutely NO CLUE how to do this the first time. I mean, do I just treat it like it was any other day, or what? Should I try and celebrate it like I normally would and make a honkin turkey with all the fixins, just for me?? Well that seemed silly. And what about the rest of the day? Should I sit by myself and have a couple beers and watch the parade and football? OY!
Turkey Legs To The Rescue
I sat in silence yesterday morning trying to figure it out. My mind wrestled with what to do. I had nothing. It was early, and I had to get to the hospital to pick up one of June’s meds. I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some bakery for the kids and I for breakfast. I passed the meat aisle and there I saw them. Turkey legs. I had never seen a store package just turkey legs before. I didn’t buy them right then, I went on with the rest of my day.
I pondered longer on how to exactly proceed with an ALONE Thanksgiving. I thought about copping out and pleading with various people to join them, or maybe join me at my home (Okay that last one went quickly out the window, as the amount of cleaning that would need to happen for me to host people, plus shop and prep was now WAY beyond entertaining that idea).
Then the turkey legs came back into my head. I was filled with the rush of making my own Thanksgiving feast for one. I could do it just my way. I said “fuck it” let’s do this thing! And with all the confidence of David, I got up off the couch and went shopping for my Thanksgiving meal. I got home and set things up for the next day.
I went out with friends last night, and woke up at about 9:00 AM this morning. Not all that different than any other morning. By 10, I was out the door to pick up 3 “door busters” at a local store for Christmas. Yeah, I went and did that. I talked to all 5 people that I ran into working that store. All of them were totally fine with working today. None of them reported being “forced” into it either. So that was cool.
Oh The Feels
Back home with my treasures by noon. Then, I sat. This is when the fear set in. I let it. I just figured, hey, that’s a part of this. So, I just felt all the feels, and let it all wash over me. Through that, I discovered there was something I needed to deal with. So, I reached out. I reached out to the person who, for the last 7 years of my life has been THAT person. I reached out to my sweets. This was REALLY hard to do, because you see, we are in the middle of some things (no worries, it’s cool).
She didn’t know that I was going to be alone today. We never talked about it. She has her kids, and they have their thing. I’m totally down with that. I was not going to interfere there. But, I was feeling the feels, and felt I needed to let her know that. It was hard to just open up, be vulnerable and just say. I was not looking for sympathy at all. I had not told her of my plans because I didn’t want that. But, I now felt for some reason that she needed to know. Without details, all I can say is, I am so glad I did.
I felt much better after that, and was able to continue on with my alone plan. I sat on FB, organized a few things, read a few things, and worked on a project I had been neglecting for someone else. Then it came time to PREPARE THE MEAL!
Good lord, that is a lot of work for just one person. I used half the dishes I had just cleaned! But, I experimented with how I made some things, and honestly, it turned out nearly perfect!!! (one too many glugs of milk in the mashed tators). You can see the results of my work in the cover picture on this note. THAT was my Thanksgiving dinner – Alone.
I sat in silence, devouring my creation. I could have distracted with FB, or TV, or a movie, or music, but I made the decision to not do that. To sit and feel it all the way through. The silence was deafening. Other than the hum of the fridge running, there was nothing.
But, I sat stuffing my face. Feeling the aloneness. And I was sad. I was sad for me, but more so, I was sad for all those who desperately WANTED to be with others today, and could not for various reasons. I remember all the holidays June spent in the hospital, and wondered what she really felt on those days. I felt sad for those that feel lonely every day. I am rarely “alone” and when I am I am usually busy with things. And when I am not busy, I distract with other things. But today, I just let it happen. Let the feeling of Alone happen. Let me tell you, it totally sucks ass.
Letting it Happen Took me Here
My thoughts then went to all of you wonderful people. How amazingly grateful I am for you all!!! This is not just some platitude I am throwing out because it’s Thanksgiving. No, it is true thankfulness. So, here are my thoughts:
- To my DSG family – Oh we have our gossipy crappy BS that goes on, but MAN how awesome have we been with and to each other through the years? We have held each other up through divorce, but in oh so many other times since then! You beautiful people have taught me SO much about myself, about life, about living and about love and family. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!! I would never be where I am without all that you have done for me! I owe you my life and my sanity. Oh, and have we had fun??? I mean COME ON! The laughter we have shared is just amazeballs!
- To my HS and childhood friends – Yup, we’re still here. Though we don’t see each other too often, I KNOW you always have my back! How many of you have I called in a favor totally out of the blue, and you just do it without even a thought? You all amaze me SO much in all you do. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for everything!
- To my FB only friends – We met through a game, or from you knowing someone else I know. Most of you I have never met in person, yet the support for everything in my life has been phenomenal! The laughs you have brought, and cares you have cared for me and mine have been immense. I can’t thank you enough.
- To my GLP family – WOW! Just WOW! The hearts you have are gynormous! Less than two years ago, I followed my dear friend Kerri Grote to camp, and the love that you have poured over me has filled my empty buckets many many times. I love you people SO much, and I am ever grateful that you are a part of my life! You have filled me with SO much love, and knowledge, and all your examples of success and failure have taught me so much! I can’t wait to be with you all again!
- To my kids – You are amazing! OH you bet we have our issues on a regular basis. But you know what? That’s how the parent kid relationship goes. You guys have made me a better me in so many ways, I can’t even write them all. I am so proud of all the things you have done, and the people you are. Do you have any idea how many people tell me how awesome you are? They do ALL.THE.TIME! And you are! And man have we had some fun, huh? I can’t wait for more! Love you guys!
- To my sweets – This one is both the easiest and the hardest to write. You have been there for me SO many times. You bent over so far backwards with June during that time that it hurt. You spent more hours with her in and out of the hospital than any other person including me, her mom, any other family, or the nurses and doctors! I have learned SO much from you, and I don’t think you even know that. You have given me more in 7 years than you understand. I have never loved another woman more than I have you. We have been through SO much together. And that is just it, it has always been together. You hurt, I hurt and visa versa. No, we certainly don’t agree on everything, but that has always been okay. Yes, we have had problems, but we always seem to conquer them. You have been my best friend, and my closest confidant. And you have inspired me WAY more than you know. I am proud of all that you do, and so love even those things you think I hate. I love you sweets, and am forever grateful for you and all that we are.
So, what did I get out of a day of being alone. I got to go deep into what really matters to me, and that is all of you. I was successful in that I didn’t allow myself to cop out of this experiment. Who knows, I may have to face it without forcing it some day. I am sure I will. I failed in that I didn’t just shut out social media for the day. I am left wondering still what it would be like to truly be disconnected. Yes, I do that sometimes, but rarely am I left with no other business to replace it.
Now, I just puked out what came from my head and heart without editing. I hope it gives you the reader something. I’ve taken up enough of your time, and besides, there is still pumpkin pie to be had. I am grateful for a very full life, of so many fabulous people, that are from all walks of life and from around the globe. How awesome is that? Anyone with people such as these, are never truly alone.