I used to love Thanksgiving. It was the day that started two or three days earlier with the girls and I gathering in the kitchen to do our annual, all from scratch meal. At first, they would just hang around talking to me while I chopped, sliced, diced, mixed and cooked, but as they got older, they became an integral part of the process. Through the years, we modified and improved on our recipes, adding new standards and celebrating with friends and family.
But in the last few years, things have been changing. Family has passed on or moved on, one daughter moved out (and subsequently gave us the worst Thanksgiving ever a couple of years ago) and the few friends we had included moved away as well until it was only Heather, me, her current boyfriend and one friend she’d coerce into coming so he wouldn’t be alone. But here it is, four days before the “big day” and I’m faced with a daughter who’s moving out in the middle of her education, a house that’s half torn up waiting for a remodel that, now, only me and the cats will truly enjoy (at least until I kick off when Heather will get it all), and what appears to be a day I’ll spend alone with the cats, eating whatever I feel inclined to throw together. And so another tradition dies.
I find myself realizing that having my daughter as my best friend was very short sighted because in the natural course of events, she must move on. So this year will be a year of “lasts”. Last birthday spent together, last concert we enjoyed, last of the shared day-to-day stuff that goes on. But it will also be a year of “firsts”. First year without a Thanksgiving. First year of no holiday decorations. First year I won’t have to go online on Thanksgiving night to find the perfect Christmas presents dirt cheap. And the first year I can take my entire paycheck and blow it on myself because there will be nobody around who needs to be fed and clothed, nobody who will care if they don’t get the annual Christmas pajamas and book with a personal inscription and nobody to nag me because I haven’t gotten the house ready for Christmas. The cats will have to do without their indoor tree to climb. Had I realized last year that it would be the last real holiday season for me, would I have made the effort to make it better? I don’t really know. But at least, thanks to digital photography, I have memories I can walk through from the last few years to remind me of times when holidays were really joyful.
Love and light