My parents separated a few weeks before Thanksgiving. November 1997. Harsh though it may be, the Fall is an appropriate time to end a marriage, when all signs of life start to wither and surrender to the frost. Symbolism aside, though, it is never ever a good time to end a marriage, never a blessed time to divide a family, never an auspicious morning to wake up on Thanksgiving when your father is dropping off your brother like a newspaper delivery, and you realize that the family togetherness that everyone bemoans around the holidays is the thing which you are most aching for, and will continue to ache for throughout your entire adult life. When a relative passes away, it is appropriate for family to take note come the holidays. Auntie is not here this year. We miss Grandpa. It's just not the same without Uncle. But when your parents divorce, the absence of a parent is surely felt, although rarely acknowledged, and the verse "We'll just have to muddle through" from "Merry Little Christmas" rings true. And while some holidays are merrier than others, I have often wondered when I would stop muddling through, when I could stop muddling through because all I felt was gutted, and just...so sad. The answer that I have found is to avoid the situation almost summarily. It is much easier to experience the holidays removed from your family when you are a child of divorce. Especially if your memory of happier times is still intact. I have successfully done so for the majority of Thanksgivings since the split, which is self-preserving, childish, and convenient. But now that I am a parent, I have a different perspective. I am charged with both the opportunity and the privilege to create new traditions, traditions full of joy and mirth, memories that will sustain my daughter when she is pushing through a mid-term in college, memories that will sustain me when I am homesick for the Thanksgiving of my youth.
I really hope each and every one of you enjoys a portion of peace, a slice of comfort, and a heaping helping of blessings this Thanksgiving. I know there are so many out there who go without, who will endure the cold and hunger, who are estranged, addicted, desperate. Let us not forget our blessings, although we carry ache and fear, perhaps this year more deeply than in the past, and please know how thankful I am for each one of you that reads this. You enrich my life. Thank you. God bless.