I was anticipating, as I tend to do, a sense of family and all the attendant warm feelings that I so wanted. It was one of those expectations that is doomed to fail.
The Thanksgiving dinner was held at poolside because C.'s mother did not want a lot of people walking on carpet that was brushed daily (I kid you not). So people lined up buffet style after a two hour cocktail party. Some were sloshed by dinner. I made it through all that since I was used to drinking around holidays by my father's relatives.
The real kicker came later when C. and I thought it would be a good idea to wash dishes and clean up. We were happily talking when C.'s mother walked in, asked what we were doing, and proceeded to push us out of the way. She was so angry that she slammed down a crystal wine glass and broke it. To this day, I remember the shock of that moment.
Now in their later years, they are too infirm to come to our house for Thanksgiving so we are cooking it and taking it to them. The mother is still a hostile martyr but at a much quieter level. Political views that C. and I share are at great odds with her family so we keep quiet. If politics comes up, one of us will change the subject.
I have great affection for her parents. And I understand that they are old now. I have learned that restraint of tongue is a good way to get through the holiday time together. I also am not deluded by expectations. I know that I can take a break and go outside to walk around their yard. I can watch a movie with C.'s dad and just chill.
There are many ways to get through the holidays with spirit and serenity intact. There is a lot to be thankful for so a simple gratitude list is a good thing to think about on Thanksgiving. I know that it is my favorite holiday.
So when we gather this year I will eke out of the day all the goodness I can find. As Just For Today states, I can do something for 24 hours that would seem impossible for a lifetime.