Holidays are a little weird for me, but not for any particular reason. In my adult life, holidays have been stressful and challenging and this has always struck me as entirely opposite of what holidays are supposed to be like. My mom and I had a small falling out a few years ago, and while there is no underlying anger between us, I haven't wanted to do much in the way of family celebrating since. Well, that's not entirely true ... I have never really wanted big celebrations around the holidays.
When I was growing up holidays were always a little sad for my mom, who always wanted to be part of a big, loving family but was instead part of a mean, angry, judgmental family. We often spent holidays at home, just the two of us. My mom made them fun, with all-day cooking and spending time together. My memories are so fuzzy, but when I think of holidays at home with my mom they seemed to be filled with games and laughing and fun, and an awful, tart home-made apple sauce that I made all by myself (or so the story goes) when I was small.
But they were also sad. My mom was sad most of the time when I was growing up, and it was worse during the holidays. She was really good at smiling convincingly through her sadness, but I don't think she's ever been able to put that sadness away.
I find that I'm the opposite of my mom; I like small, quiet holidays. I have many people in my life that I could visit and spend the day with. I have loving parents; Mr. J's family, who have loved and accepted me from the start. I am fortunate in that there is no ill-will or contention between me and my stepdaughter's mother; I am close to them as well, and often enjoy time with their family during the holidays. And I have friends.
Despite this eclectic and loving family that I have pieced together over the years, I generally desire to stay home. Not because I don't love the people in my life, not because I'm ungrateful for them. But because Thanksgiving doesn't feel like a special day for me. I am thankful for these people every day, not just on Thanksgiving. I don't ever visit them just because it's Thursday, and the obligation to visit them because it's Thanksgiving sets my teeth on edge. I don't care much for tradition for tradition's sake.
Mr. J worked a half-day yesterday. I pretended to clean and prepare for dinner; I avoided the work I brought home from the office, despite my internal promises that I'd get it all done.
We'd gone shopping earlier in the week and brought home a yummy, pre-cooked ham. So yesterday afternoon we made mashed potatoes -using mom's method of mashed potatoes, involving lots of butter and milk and a hand-mixer- green bean casserole, stuffing from a box, and jellied cranberry sauce. And pie. Pumpkin pie, without any whipped cream or ice cream. Just plain, yummy pumpkin pie.
While I don't have big, warm feelings about Thanksgiving, I love the food. We piled all this food (minus the pie) on top of sliced, room-temperature ham and poured turkey gravy over the whole lot, and watched The Shield on DVD.
I think this is the first Thanksgiving we've celebrated on our own, just the two of us, and I enjoyed it very much.