The bittersweet in my kitchen window seems appropriate. The view of the November sky though the elegantly arched window of my newly remodeled kitchen brings that familiar feel of the holiday mix of emotions of a person whose family has changed.
My sons won’t be with me on Thanksgiving as I proudly carry my perfectly roasted turkey to the table set well in advance with linens, china, candles, and, of course, the turkey salt and pepper shakers. No husband will recite the traditional blessing which was always sweeter than the pecan pie. And I will not hear the voice of my mother giving endless thanks for the simple joy of her entire family sharing a meal.
As our families change, there are inevitable losses. After divorce we may lose the chance to hear our children argue over who gets the wishbone, our spot on the post-dinner football team, or even the very table we dined on for the last decade. At a time when expectations are that we share the happy holiday spirit, we may feel our most alone.
If we return to the family of our childhood for Thanksgiving, we can again become the picked on four year old, the middle child performing antics to get attention, or the first born being busy and bossy but never slowing down to savor the company of those around us.
We all manage to find our ways to move through these days. For me, I know I am vulnerable to not being my best self. I’ll be prone to talking too much, eating too much, and trying too hard. Those survival skills worked pretty well growing up the fifth of eight children, and decades later I still struggle to shake them.
This year I set an intention to do just what this holiday calls for. To be thankful. For my beautiful new kitchen where I’ll prepare the feast. For my precious family who will fill more than a dozen chairs at my table. For the memories of countless happy holidays gone by.
Bittersweet, but lovely. Happy Thanksgiving.