Friday, October 11, 2013
Earlier today as I enjoyed a peaceful late afternoon walk through my neighborhood admiring the fall colours and feeling the cool autumn air on my face, I was suddenly distracted by a conversation taking place on the street between a couple. It was an emotional confrontation, the woman's voice growing louder and more agitated the closer I got.
She was spewing about the fact that she had discovered her entire family was gathering this Thanksgiving weekend and she had not been invited. She was full of anger and as I passed I heard her saying she wouldn't go even if they did invite her now. She was clearly upset and the fellow listening allowed her angry words to fly from her mouth seemingly knowing she needed to vent. As I continued along my way silently, it made me think about families. Families and their ability to arouse our emotions in such a way. She was behaving angrily but what she was really feeling was hurt. Big hurt. My heart went out to her.
It made me wonder how many others will be hurting this Thanksgiving weekend. A time that is supposed to bring families together, like other holidays, is a recipe for disaster for many. It made me grateful knowing I would be having dinner with my brother and his wife and their kids and spouses and my great niece. I know it will be fun and boisterous and I look forward to spending my Thanksgiving with them. This is a rare occasion as we have not been in the same part of the country for many years for this weekend. My daughter will be missing, so we will try to Skype her in so she can partake. Long distance calls will be made to grandparents across the country this year - a departure from the norm.
This will be the first of many departures from the norm for me in the next few months. I can get very melancholic about these breaks from tradition. Change can be challenging. It can also be refreshing. Sometimes I wonder if traditions aren't overhyped. Doing the same thing year after year can get stale. Often we attend these family affairs out of a sense of obligation. I know a woman who in recent years decided to forgo the annual turkey fest with the family to spend 3 days hiking the Bruce Trail instead. Long weekends are few and far between and when you think about it, she now makes a much healthier choice both physically and mentally. I have often thought that these annual holidays would be better if they were less frequent - every 2-3 years perhaps. Especially Christmas. That is one holiday that could come every 5 years as far as I am concerned. At least Thanksgiving is just about sharing a meal and the company of family or friends. No gifts. No big panic for perfection.
So, whether you are heading home for mom's pumpkin pie or trying something new this year, I wish you all a Happy Turkey Day filled with fun and love.
Get stuffed. Your way.