I have so many reasons to be thankful. But my Thanksgiving has a cloud over it that I cannot shake.
A couple of years ago, I was determined to handle the holiday family anxiety with grace and dignity. Instead, I handled it with too much Xanax and wine. You can visit those posts here and here if you want to relive the horror.
After my brother had a scary accident, my family vowed that we would stay close and connected. For a while, we tried. And then old habits and human nature surfaced. We drifted again.
I almost wish I had spent this holiday flattened by Xanax. Because, you see, I remember very little of that Xanax day. I wish I could forget how I felt on this Thanksgiving.
I spent the day reminding myself that my Hobbits are a gift. I gave them my best as we carried on a family tradition of making dumplings. Every little Hobbit helped in some way. It was messy and took much longer than necessary, but it is an experience that creates holiday memories for the Hobbit to carry with them as they grow.
I held my Hubby close and knew that he will always be my safe place.
I enjoyed every moment of being with Hubby’s mediocre family, laughing, and loving cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles who have become my family. We cried as we toasted those that have left us. We missed them deeply.
I held my (not-so-mediocre) mother-in-law tightly, as she has become my own mother.
Through it all, though, there was still a lingering cloud over my heart. I had my chosen family around me, but I had been deeply hurt by the family I was born into.
Today, I will not mince my words. Today, I will not worry if my family will read this. Today, this blog is not for my readers. Today, the blog is a place to work through the difficult emotions I am feeling.
I woke up this morning to a sweet message from my crazy mother. She told me that my family is precious and wished me a happy Thanksgiving.
Less than an hour later, over morning coffee, I learned that my parents were spending the holiday less than 10 miles from my house, without a word to me. I wondered how “precious” I could possibly be to them?
I am not precious enough to warrant a visit, and neither are my Hobbits. We are not precious enough to be told that they are going to be traveling so close to us.
For several weeks, I have thought about my childhood, and even more so, about the way my family has treated me since I became an adult. Judgement from the people who gave you life and raised you hurts at every age. Or at least, every age up until 42.
Just when I think I have learned to deal with it, and that it cannot affect me anymore, it does. And it hurts all over again.
They don’t treat any of their other kids like they treat me. They spend loads of time with sibling #2….in a weird, unhealthy sort of way since his accident…although they don’t seem all that interested in his wife or kids. Sibling #3 has stayed close to them in spite of the fact that they have made him mental in so many ways. Sibling #4 still sees them and has the golden child-heir. And Sibling #5 is the one they spent their holiday with. He has tried for years to win their love and approval. Maybe it is finally working for him.
I don’t know how to process this. I don’t know how to find any sort of perspective. I don’t know where to go from here. (Dear therapist, if you are reading this, get ready to see me next week. I have issues.)
Maybe there is no way to make it better. Maybe the only thing I can do is make a different life for the Hobbits.
I comfort myself with the knowledge that my Hobbits will never be hurt by them. I comfort myself with the knowledge that the Hobbits know how fiercely we love them. I comfort myself with the knowledge that I have had a family for 19 years that loves me unconditionally. I comfort myself with the knowledge that those are the family my Hobbits are growing up with. I comfort myself with the knowledge that my Hobbits have involved and loving grandparents in Hubby’s family.
I comfort myself in the best ways I can.
I hold the Hobbits close. I find solace in the arms of Hubby. And I get up every day to be the best partner, mother, and badass woman that I can be.
Badass. Fiercely protective. Unconditionally loving. Those are the only gifts I have to offer. I have to believe it will be enough. I do believe it will be enough.