turkey and traveling

I’m feeling a little “off” today.

Today is the first time in 23 years that I have not spent the night with my family on the eve of Thanksgiving. Tomorrow will be the first time I spend Thanksgiving without the Durham’s or the Cadwell’s, the first time I go without Grandma’s chicken noodles or Gram’s corn pudding, the first time I don’t either see my Cadwell cousins or my Durham cousins. The first, the first, the first…

There’s a lot of history with Thanksgiving for me, as with every other family, I’m sure. Thanksgiving has always been the most non-complicated holiday in my family’s life. Stay with Mom on Wednesday/Thursday, go with Dad on Thursday night through Saturday morning. To be honest, I don’t really remember what my Thanksgiving was like pre-divorced parents, but I know that post-divorce, it was a time for stability, consistency, the same faces, familiar foods, familiar places, etc. And for the rest of you kids-of-divorce out there, you probably know what I mean. No matter how crazy your schedule is shifting between parents, you can savor Thanksgiving, no matter what family you’re with. Because there’s a plan. Because it means that for one day (or in my case, three), you get to just sit and eat with your family, and not worry about anything else.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little sad about this year. Don’t misread me: I LOVE MY HUSBAND’S FAMILY. They are more than I ever could have dreamed in a family, and I really mean that. They’re funny, real, quirky, weird, and the very opposite of straight-laced. I fit in perfectly, because let’s be honest, I’m the weirdest person I know. But to say that I won’t miss spending the morning with my mom, or driving to Evansville with my dad, brother, and crazy dog, or wish I could play, “Oh, hell” with the Durham’s for hours would be like saying I don’t really like GLEE: pure denial.

And so on this Thanksgiving, I am grateful. Thanksgiving could be a painful memory because of divorce, but because my parents are so stinking awesome, it’s not. They made sure Thanksgiving was a time of joy, food, turkey, stuffing, and Christmas Vacation. And for that, I cannot say thank you enough. I know that life has not been perfect in our little dysfunctional family, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. So even though I’ll miss you Durham’s and Cadwell’s, know that I am being taken care of by an equally crazy family that loves me in spite of my Durham-ness.

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