In my mind, tomorrow is the official kick-off to the holiday season. It is a season that is often faced with excitement and trepidation. This year is no different in that regard. However, there will be many things that are much different due to the pandemic. I am excited about the holidays because no one is more fun or enthusiastic than my daughter. She turns a snowstorm into a major event, and her excitement is catching. I love sharing holiday traditions with her and telling her stories about when I was a child. She is always eager to listen. The trepidation comes from sharing family stories about people who are no longer with us. It has been fourteen years since I lost my dad, and still, the holidays can create an ache and longing for someone and something I will never again have. Thanksgiving was my dad's favorite holiday. He would get up extra early to make the dressing and stuff the turkey. I always did this with him, and it was a small thing I looked forward to. There was always laughter, inappropriate jokes about the turkey, a lot of giving orders, and love. The holidays, especially Thanksgiving, makes me miss my dad more than usual.
There is always an emptiness in my world, but the holidays accentuate that emptiness. In recent years, while others made plans to be with family, it was just the three of us. We have a wonderful circle of people who have invited us to partake in their holiday traditions, and we are grateful for that. However, I wish I could offer The Bean family gatherings like I had when I was a child. My aunt and uncles would all congregate at my grandparent's house with their families. There was what seemed like an endless buffet of wonderful foods. The kids would all go to the basement and play. Even the disgruntled teenagers would end up engaged in a game of tag, pool, or roughhousing. It was simple fun that we looked forward to every year.
I can't offer that to my bean. The relationship with my family is non-existent. When my dad passed away, the grounding rod that kept everyone in check was gone. Our family ties were broken. I am often disappointed by people because I feel like it is just a balance of give and take that is honored by all. However, dear reader, one knows the ways of the world are not that simple. I work very hard to provide a safe, supportive, loving, and stable environment for my bean. I want her to know nothing but love, support, and safety from her home and parents. I have found that it is not always possible to maintain relationships and create that safe, loving environment. Sometimes, it is better to love from a distance than subject oneself to hurtful words and instability.
This year things will be different and better. GramBarb has moved back to the area, and we are going to her house for Thanksgiving. We are going in early, maybe even having a sleepover tonight, and cooking with her tomorrow. I am genuinely excited for this. Not only will we get to spend time with one of my favorite people, but The Bean will also be building memories that will last her a lifetime. It will be different, but change is good. We will spend time together, create a wonderful meal, enjoy each other's company, and probably watch "real" T.V. together. It is simple, but what more can one ask for?
May you have a happy, healthy, love-filled Thanksgiving. Although we may not gather together as we once did, remember the love, enjoy the laughter, and appreciate the blessings. Dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, have a thankful and blessed day, and wash your hands.