Thursday, November 26, 2009

Within

Today was the first time I've spent Thanksgiving alone since 1994, my senior year in college. In those days all my friends went home to be with their families, but because mine was so far away, and because I was an RA in the dorms where I lived, I always stayed behind, taking my dinner at the Denny's in Highland Park on Route 41, a thick notebook and a nice pen in tow. It was not the most ideal way to spend my favorite holiday, but I'd sit at my table eating my turkey and stuffing while I wrote letters to friends. After I graduated my roommates and I hosted an orphan Thanksgiving dinner, and the year after was spent with Ken and April, and every one of those Thanksgivings was magical, from making the world's best mashed potatoes to giving Winnie and Pip a bath after they somehow became infested with fleas. I would not lose a single one of those memories for all the money in the world.

This has been a challenging year. Ken and I separated after thirteen years together and I had to relearn much of my life. It hasn't always been easy and quite often I've struggled more than these writings admit, but I spent a great deal of my time today reflecting on past Thanksgiving dinners with Ken and my friends and comparing them to where I am now. It would've been easy to feel as though a terrible accident had happened, that by being alone I had somehow suffered some sort of failure. But that's not quite the way I see it.

I believe that happiness comes from within ourselves, that while material things may offer a temporary pleasure, and the company of family and friends certainly enriches us, it is we who determine how to feel. I was invited to spend my day with several people I know but in the end I chose to stay at home with Duncan and the kittens, to make my own dinner, to reflect on the past, both distant and recent. And while people tended to pity me for being alone I can not stress enough that I was not lonely. A year ago I never would've imagined I'd be where I am now, but I had plenty to celebrate and honor within myself. For that I am proud. It was a far better Thanksgiving than those ones spent in Denny's.

I would like to take a moment to thank Amber and Jesse and Kenzie for stopping by, bringing me a decaf latte and a beautiful picture Kenz colored, which now hangs on my fridge. I'd like to thank Andy for knocking on my door and giving me a hug. I'd like to thank my mother, Ruth and Kevi for calling, and Brady, Allison and Larisa for inviting me to join in their own celebrations. My day was made all the more perfect knowing that people love and think of me as much and as often as I love and think of them. Bless you all.

Now that the day is behind me, now that I am sitting in my bed, Duncan snoring at my feet, Olive batting her big yellow eyes at me from the pillow at my side, Winnie and Pip waiting patiently for me to lay down so they can claim their spots on my shoulder and hip, I think I'll just enjoy the silence and reflect, as I do every year, on what A.A. Milne meant when he wrote, "And by and by Christopher Robin came to the end of things, and he was silent, and he sat there, looking out over the world, just wishing it wouldn't stop."

3 comments:

Cheryl said...

What a perfect day for reflecting on past "thanks" givings. All those pasts help shape our future. You are much loved.XO

Sierra Rose said...

That was beautiful! I was dreading our manditory family gathering,(would have enjoyed just a trip to the snow or something) as it is way too cheerful and gooey, but the day turned out much better than thought. A nice hike with Sierra Rose, and all the furry pals at the fathering behaved...good food, and family part was not as intense as I thought. Whew.
Enjoy your weekend! We love your writing!!

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose's mom

jiorji said...

you are right!! happiness is your choice and nobody can make you happy and they most certainly shouldn't be the ones to cause you grief either.
but i can see that you didn't quite spend the day "alone". Furries were there and i think that was a day well spent in my book :)

*sending an e-hug* :)