I rang in this Thanksgiving by making pies and watching a couple of episodes of Parenthood while they baked, and later, off I went to bed, expecting to wake up in the morning, filled with gratitude and brimming with positivity. But expectations don’t always match reality. I felt tired and on edge most of the day. It didn’t feel like Thanksgiving. It was too quiet, despite Cars playing on the DVD player and tantrums being thrown. It was another type of noise I was missing: the bustling of extended family, snippets of random conversation, lots of laughter.
I took two naps, one in the morning and another in the afternoon while Roy cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal single-handedly and watched the boys, who boycotted their naps today. Sleep didn’t help. I cried, hard, a couple of times after dinner (which was amazing, by the way), thinking about my family, so far away; my upcoming C-section and all the changes ahead; Roy’s family, not terribly far away but still far enough to make a big difference; all my friends and loved ones. Charlie asked me, “Are you okay, Mommy?” and I told him I was a little sad. He then asked me, “Are you lost?” And I wanted to say yes. Yes, I am lost.
The tears ended up being the very thing to set me free from my sadness, and I read the boys their usual bedtime story and we tucked them into their beds and I finally was able to summon up some feelings of gratitude. For the first time in ages, Roy and I said “to hell with the mess!” and watched a movie together. We live together, we are married, but it’s so hard to even have a conversation sometimes, much less find a two hour chunk of mutual free time that we can devote to doing something as simple as watching a movie.
We watched You’ve Got Mail and then we tackled the big ugly mess and we talked and I feel okay now. I feel good now. I feel grateful now. I feel grateful every day but sometimes it’s more difficult to get there. I’m grateful for family and friends, for art and life, for sadness and joy, for books and music, for pens and paper, for cats and dogs, for trees and the sky, for the sun and the moon, for grass and flowers, for Netflix and iPhones, for surprise packages in the mail filled with baby girl clothes, for having to get up to pee three or four times each night, for naps and sleep deprivation and sore muscles and bruised ribs and pelvic pain. I’m grateful for being lost because then I can be found. I’m grateful for words because without them I couldn’t write this, and I couldn’t write my life. I’m grateful to you for reading and for listening. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving.