Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and this is my final post of the year. Things are busy both at work and at home, for all of us I am sure, and I think it might do me some good to schedule in this little holiday break every year. I want to be able to spend my nights and weekends with my family enjoying the holidays, and all the movie watching, carol singing, show going, family dining, cookie baking, snow playing that it all entails, without obsessing over pageviews and SEO and most importantly, content.
I will continue to write during the break, of course, especially with the recent change in my mood, but it will be unscheduled. And unless something really profound happens, it will go un-posted until the new year.
I do plan on republishing old content that strikes me in some way. So please come and visit the site, dig through the archives and hopefully find something that you enjoy. And of course, the podcast will continue throughout.
But onto Thanksgiving!
I originally wrote this essay from a vantage point of why I am not fond of Thanksgiving. I went into detail about the planning and fighting and hurt feelings associated with spending time somewhere as opposed to somewhere else. I talked at length about how my family no longer has any of the traditions I grew up with outside of location, and about how my wife’s family is often too big for me to feel comfortable, both psychologically and actually physically. And most importantly how the holiday season is just a time of year to report to the people you hardly ever see how little you have grown in the last 12 months.
But after writing it, I didn’t like it. I am no longer in that mood. And I thought that all of that was really a symptom of something I am really grateful for. And since this is the holiday of thankfulness, why not write about that?
All of those things I listed above happen because people love me, and want to see me, and want to know (no matter how superficial) about my life and my family. If no one cared, I wouldn’t have tension filled conversations about locations, and I wouldn’t have families so big there isn’t a place to sit.
I could say a whole lot of things about my family and the holidays, their rigidity, their desire to have what is fair to them even if it isn’t best for me, etc. But it comes from the same place as their desire and willingness to take me to the hospital in the middle of the night during a break down, make sure I get to all of my appointments and hospital visits, stay on top of my medication and treatment plans. It is from the same place that drives them to visit me while I am in the hospital, or when I was younger, seek treatment for me even when none of us knew what was going on.
Ultimately it comes down to love, but it is more than that. Devotion, compassion, willingness are all pieces of the puzzle. I am really thankful to have a family that wants to be that involved in my life; that devoted to my well-being.
As for my wife’s family, who have many long standing traditions (although we have certainly created new ones since I have been around), it would be easy to complain about being lost in the shuffle, or simply having too many obligations. I could say most of the same thing I just said about my own family here, but I won’t for sake of brevity. What I will say though is that I am so thankful that they let me inside. It was a nerve-racking thing to step up to this huge and rather insulated family and knock on the door asking to be a part. But there was never any question about my validity in that family, and today I feel as much a part of it as my own, as much as any of the other cousins. I don’t know if anyone else feels that way, but I really don’t care.
And, of course, what I am most appreciative these days is my own family. Celebrating the day with my wife and daughter, the two most important people in my life, is really the only thing I need out of the holiday. My daughter is now of an age that we can begin to make our own traditions that will be meaningful to us and her as we grow together as a family. I want her to enjoy watching our city parade and tree lighting ceremony every year. I want her to enjoy watching “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with me every year. I want her to enjoy watching Charlie Brown, especially the part when Snoopy makes toast because that and popcorn are all they have to feed their friends with.
And, of course, I want her to look forward to going to her grandparent’s houses, and seeing her aunts and uncles and cousins and animals. I want her to have a full and authentic experience for the holidays and I sincerely hope she enjoys them as much as her mother.
It leads to me to my final thought that I am thankful for all of you. I have a steady and consistent and somewhat growing readership. I can assume this post will receive well over 100 views before we are all stuffing our faces tomorrow afternoon. I am thankful that you all give me a reason to get my feelings out onto a page. It makes it so much easier to understand yourself when you can see how comical, sad or profound some of your thoughts really are. I am certain that this blog has contributed greatly to my recovery. Thank you to everyone who has mentioned to me that you read this. Thank you to everyone who has ever commented (especially because I can track your IP and see how often you come to my page), your words have meant so much.
Thank you for finishing this essay. I’m sure it is not always easy to make it to the bottom, and I hope that sometimes I make you smile, or laugh, or feel on some level.
Thank you for letting me be who I am!
Have a good holiday season! I will talk to you again next year! Be sure to check in on specially reposted essays throughout the month of December!