There was a time in my life when I ignored all holidays, especially Thanksgiving. My son was too little to know and my husband too drunk to care. I could get extra pay for working on a holiday and isn't that the American dream?
Both our families lived thousands of miles away and the phone calls were few and far in between.
I hated all those family re-unions I observed all around me, people flying in from all over the country, for what? To be with their family for a couple days, discover they still disliked each other as much ever, fight and badmouth each other, spewing spiteful remarks on the flight home.
They'd return to work on Monday morning full of scorn about their siblings and their messed up lives.
Fixing dinner for a bunch of ungrateful beer bellies, no thank you. I doubted they could even taste the food, much less appreciate a well set table with fine china and a good wine. No, they deserved the cheapest brew and whatever tasteless stuffing the supermarket might offer on sale, served on soggy paper plates.
One year, we couldn't afford so much as a chicken for Thanksgiving dinner, yet a co-worker bragged about having won a turkey at the supermarket, saying she really didn't need it and what a nuisance to have to give up space in the freezer for a second bird. Yeah, I felt really grateful that year!
For three years,
I denied and rejected what was mine to take and celebrate. The joy of living, the joy of the seasons, the joy of celebrating together, to preserve in pictures and stories the achievements, fortunes, even misfortunes of our lives.
I had an epiphany which completely shifted my perception.
In a split second I recognized that I had been coasting on automatic at home, giving all my strength to Corporate America, cutting off and neglecting ties to friends and family alike.
It was time for the truth. I took responsibility for my actions, re-actions and in-actions:) and no longer sneered at holidays and family time.
Around that time I began to understand that my co-workers truly cared about their families well being, that beneath the scorn they had proclaimed, there lay a deep and loving concern. Whereas I had distanced and isolated myself, given up and effectively denied myself and our family the comfort and strength of family and friends.
We all need support or a different point of view as we sail the muddy waters of our lives. Someone in your corner, to throw a lifeline or perhaps it will be you who ends up lending a much needed ear. Be grateful to have someone to lean on and be grateful to be able to be there for someone else, it is all part of a life well lived.
The life lesson learned was that you can never go back, your life circumstances change, people die, move or simply start celebrating and visiting with their other families.
To my everlasting sorrow, it was too late to make amends with all. We reap what we sow and sometimes our children pay the price for our stupidity and the limitless, thoughtless arrogance of our youth.
Time and circumstances may never be in your favor again ...
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
November 16, 2011 © Rose Hill All Rights Reserved
Image copyright 2011 © Rose Hill
Posted for the "Thanksgiving" prompt at the Tuesday Writing Essential Group