It’s the morning before Thanksgiving, and I was unprepared for the single parent melancholy that hit me the second I woke up.
This evening, my boys will go with their father. I will pick them up tomorrow afternoon for Thanksgiving dinner with my family so I know I am luckier than many single parents. That does not make it much less difficult or any less unfair that my children and I have to sacrifice because of choices my ex-husband made single handedly. It doesn’t make it any less unfair that our happiness is continually sacrificed for his. I felt myself sinking into a bad case of the:
- I’ll never again get to wake up Thanksgiving morning to my kids tumbling sleepily into my bed. I’ll never again feel that overflowing thankfulness as the squirming, wrestling, and giggling begin.
- I’ll never again get to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with them.
- I’ll never again get to enjoy the early Thanksgiving fun at my Grandfather’s house. I’ll never again partake in female bonding over food prep, the delicious hors d’ouevres served once a year, or laugh over the good-natured pre-game football ribbing among the men.
- I’ll never get to give my children the blessing of a complete family Thanksgiving. They’ll never again get to be thankful for stability, security, and peace.
Tonight, home alone, I could think of the other woman now sharing holidays with my boys or the things she can afford to give my children that I cannot. I could think of how they will be talking about me in my ex-sister-in-law’s kitchen tomorrow, listing my infinite faults and laughing and cursing me behind my back. I could think of the fear and awkwardness I will feel when I go there to pick the boys up or how I will be under the microscope as they search for additional flaws. I could think of how, no matter how detailed their inspection, they could never find as many things to criticize me for as I’ve found in myself.
I could spend my day wondering is she is going to be there or if I will have to meet her for the first time on a day I should be thankful, wondering if God will give me the strength to hold my tongue and greet her as a child of God rather than greet her with one of the many greetings my creative mind has come up with.
or I could change my thought patterns.
I do have my boys now (the two year old climbing over my head as I try to type reminds me of this 🙂 ).
I will put on a happy face for them. I will not let them know how the thought of their leaving gives me a pit in my stomach that stays with me all day. I will play games and hang out in front of the tv. I will even make them clean out the guinea pig cage to show it’s just another day. I will not let them notice the sadness in my heart.
and I will change that sadness.
I will remember that I have more reason to be thankful than most. I have five beautiful children and an amazing group of friends. I live in an amazing town in an amazing country. I have a mother who would do anything for my boys and is an incredible help to me. I have a Grandfather who is the most wonderful role model. I have an aunt who makes the boys laugh and does a lot for them.
Tonight, I will happily endulge in a cry while watching some cheesy chick flick where everything magically falls into place while knowing that life almost never “magically Falls into place.” I will spoil myself with a bath and home pedicure. I will sort through Christmas presents I’ve picked up in sales throughout the year. I will wrap what I can. I will actually get started on my Christmas card list and maybe even mail them this year! I will write more Single Mom Smiling pages. I will find reasons to really be Single Mom Smiling.
And that smiling will begin now.
I will go and stop wasting precious time. I have a two year old climbing on me and needing tickles (or “gookuls” as he calls them) and four other guys whom I can bond with right now. We will make the desserts each of the older kids chose for Thanksgiving at Grandpa’s. We will play Life. We will read from our latest fantasy novel. We will watch Dirty Jobs with the wise and amazing Mike Rowe. We will discuss fantasy football trades.
We will remember there are always reasons to be thankful.
I know I am truly blessed and I will smile. ____________________________________________________________________________
Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace! Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed.
Nahum 1: 15