Thursday, November 23, 2006

Just being a jerk over here. Don't mind me.

Considering that this blog is mostly a place where I come to rant, and then go to check out what cool things my blogging friends are doing, and then retreat back to my computer to do a little writing, I have to make an obnoxious rant today. If you are enjoying Thanksgiving with your families, please go away. You can come back and visit over the weekend when I'm feeling better.

It's 3 in the morning on Thanksgiving Day and I can't sleep. I tried alcohol. Nothing. I watched boring TV and slept on the couch. My grinding teeth woke me up.

I think I can say fairly honestly without fear of repurcussion (What would that be? A band of torch-wielding locals?) that I hate the holiday of Thanksgiving. I get anxious and crabby and dictatorial. And then I'm supposed to invite people into my house to sit around for hours on end, when all I really want to do is be in a dark room all by myself with slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of tea. I'm not a social person, really.

I'd like to blame this all on my family, if I could, and that might make a certain amount of sense, this being a family holiday and all. In fact, my crazy family dealt with Thanksgiving in the craziest of manners. The fact that my mother, my aunt, and my grandmother could never give up control of the holiday to a rival meant that for about ten years we actually celebrated three consecutive Thanksgivings.

Thanksgiving Day was at my grandmother's house, although my mother insisted on bringing the turkey. Then, on Friday, we had a complete repeat of Thanksgiving at our house, and my mom made the turkey. This was ostensibly so that my mom could have turkey leftovers, because she usually had gotten into some big fight with my grandmother late on Thursday evening and had stormed out of the house, dragging us behind her, without taking anything. Somehow, Friday morning, there was another thawed turkey in the oven, along with all the fixings, and by Friday afternoon we were eating another dinner. My mother would compare every dish to the previous night's dinner--her's were always better. (Including the second turkey. Yeah, I dunno. Did she buy it because it was on sale? Had she planned on fighting with Grandma?)

Then on Saturday, we went over to my uncle and aunt's house--usually they celebrated Thanksgiving with her relatives in Connecticut. Saturday was an evening dessert-only affair, but every year both my grandmother and my mother each brought an entire dinner to my uncle's so that he wouldn't have missed anything. Apparently the relatives in Connecticut couldn't equal the turkey-cooking abilities of the Massachusetts relatives.

OK, all that is crazy-making. And it would be convenient to simply blame today's anxiety and discomfort on the certifiably wacko relatives. But really, it's not that. If it were totally up to me, I'd not bother to celebrate Thanksgiving for a few years until I felt the loss, and decided to start it up again. But, having kids, that's just not going to happen.

Thanksgiving is for me the beginning of the holiday weepies.

I used to hate the "Let's be thankful" speech that started the meal, but now I miss it. I'm not sure why all these people are sitting around my table without it. Thanksgiving itself kicks off a season which doesn't really work for me.

It's the beginning of that feeling that I should be doing more celebratory *stuff* (Bake cookies! Write to Santa! Heat Cider!) for my kids so that they will have magical holidays while being angry that it falls to me to do more. It's the beginning of the season of listening to music that is painful to hear. Music I used to enjoy singing but now makes my throat close against the embarrassment of tears. It's the beginning of a season of cold floors and shivering shoulders. It's not the same as winter snows--I'm not making myself out to be a California baby--but stumbling around in a cold kitchen, or eating meals at the table with my feet hovering just above the floor so that the soles don't freeze feels like Thanksgiving to me. It's the beginning of a long anniversary of mourning the deaths of people who used to hug me. It's the beginning of hating that I'm always ruining my holidays by thinking of them. It's the beginning of realizing that I don't know how to celebrate holidays without thinking of them. They're my only role models for loving behavior. It's the beginning of feeling extraordinarily alone.

I don't mind being alone, in fact, I hunger for it a lot of the time, living as I do in the public eye, mostly accompanied by three kids. What I dislike is feeling alone and separate while being forced to be in a group of people with whom I'm supposed to interact. I don't like watching myself from the ceiling.

I don't know where I'm going with all of this. Except that I just needed to say "out loud" somewhere that I really dislike this holiday. I used to like going to Grandma's house to see the relatives, sneak some chocolate from Nana's chocolate box which was ONLY for after dinner, play with the dogs, and watch Wizard of Oz. But that hasn't happened in a long time, decades. And since all of that ended, I've been going along with the parade, but I haven't liked it. Now, I actively hate this holiday. I truly do. And I'm stuck with it for years to come. Ugh.


Megan Frampton said...

Yeah, me too. I wish we lived closer so I could sneak into that dark room and join you for a piece of pie (I'd bring the rum to sneak into the tea).

Enjoy your time as best you can. I can't post a similar thing on my own spot, since my MIL reads it, and would COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY FREAK OUT if she read it. Completely.

Happy Thanksgiving, Suisan.

Marianne McA said...

Reminds me of the Serenity Prayer: Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...

And it's useful to say it aloud - it helps to know you hate something, because at least your aim becomes to endure it with grace, rather than enjoy it.

Only other thought, as the daughter of an amazing woman who for all her manifold virtues as a person is turned either extremely short-tempered or very weepy by any celebration involving her directly - somehow it was better after my mum just came out and said 'I hate celebrating my birthday' rather than went through the pretence of being cheery for our sakes. I can imagine it might be impractical to ignore Thanksgiving the way we now ignore her birthday or wedding anniversary - but once the children are a bit older, I'd out yourself as a thanksgiving-hater, and perhaps there'd be some adjustment the family could make.

Hadn't realised it was always on a Thursday - I'd thought of it as being on a specific date, like Christmas.

CindyS said...

Maybe you can have a family only Thanksgiving next year. Just you, the hubby and the kids. That way you can renew some of the traditions that you used to keep. Don't let others dictate to you what Thanksgiving is about. Maybe even sharing your memories with your kids might be something they would love to hear.

I'm sorry that you hate this holiday. I'll be honest and say that New Years is a holiday that I can honestly do without.