Friday, November 29, 2013
Who are these people?
I don't know about you, but this illustration looks nothing like any Thanksgiving celebration I can recall.
At my family gatherings, guilt was always the main dish. Ladles of tension were always poured over the guilt. And I could count on a soupçon of passive aggression. (That's because, to be honest, I often supplied it.)
I had a lovely time last night with my friend, John (battling a very bad cold) and his friends Gregory and Sebastian. We laughed a great deal, ate a lovely buffet, people-watched, and enjoyed the kind of community the day is supposed to be about.
We all fussed over John's cold. Gregory introduced us to affordable, safe travel with his tales of Megabus. Sebastian is preparing to spend this Christmas -- the first one that doesn't find him scheduled to work at a hospital and, unfortunately, without his longtime lover -- solo in Hawaii. I found talking to him enormously touching. He's always wanted to see Hawaii, he needs time to reflect on his new job and new life alone, and he needs time to mourn his loss. I think he's very brave.
My heart was very light last night as I got on the train and headed home. I was with people who WANTED to be with me, who weren't there out of obligation. They like me and they get me. Unfortunately, these three men are not my family.
But then again, last night they were.
I miss my mom. I miss my uncle. But I don't miss the guilt and tension of our family Thanksgivings. I am sad that I am 56 and will never enjoy the Norman Rockwell ideal I was promised.
I did enjoy last night. As we parted, Gregory said, "I like this tradition. Let's do it next year." Sebastian worried about my safety on the train home. John, of course, was our gracious hub. I felt wrapped in harmony and affection. It's more productive to be grateful for what I do have than to mourn what I never had.