(Un)Happy Thanksgiving

Well that post title is a bit dramatic, isn't it? But I just don't care about Thanksgiving. Let me explain. 

My mom and biological father (let's call him "Tim") divorced when I was one. My mom remarried when I was three and I was blessed with the dad my "real" one would never be. (I put real in quotes, because genetics absolutely do not make him my real, actual father, but some people like to say that's what he is because it was his sperm or whatever). While growing up, Tim made an attempt to have a relationship with me, probably because of the parenting plan. Thankfully I only had to visit him every other month or so. 

Tim remarried when I was thirteen and my step-mom was my saving grace. She welcomed me with open arms, and since her daughters were about my age she loved to plan fun things for us girls to do. Tim was around, but mostly watched football on weekends. He occasionally took us to the zoo or on drives up Mt. Rainier, but my step-sisters and I would rather be roller skating or hanging out at the mall. Tim was always nice, but it felt like I was visiting an uncle or something and as a shy child, I was never completely comfortable with him. We didn't have any sort of bond. Throughout middle school I down to visiting him two weeks over the summer, a week over winter break, a few days over spring break, and every single Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving wasn't a big deal on my mom's side of the family. My grandma had ten kids (TEN!) who had in-laws all over the country. She insisted that each one of us be present on Christmas Eve, but we could make other plans on Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. My dad's family lives in the south, so we never spent the holidays with them. Every Thanksgiving, my mom would make a traditional dinner for my immediate family and my grandma, with a stray aunt or cousin attending. 

But I was off to Tim's house for Thanksgiving weekend. We didn't spend it with his/my side of the family though; we hung out with my step-mom's family. Over time I got to know them and they were all very nice, but it felt strange. I'd rather be at my own house with my cousins and playing all weekend with my neighbors. I dreaded Thanksgiving.

In high school, I really hated it. I had a social life, and because this was before cell phones and email, I was cut off from everyone for four days, which was torture for a teen. My step-sisters were involved with their own friends and boyfriends, so our time together wasn't as quality. I finally got out of it in 11th grade because my boyfriend invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him. Tim and my step-mom were going through some issues at that time, so they didn't push my visit. I thoroughly believe my step-mom was the one to initiate all contact with me, so when they divorced the following year, Tim was done. The last time I saw them was at my high school graduation. (I've reunited with my step-mom and step-sisters because of Facebook and they are still as lovely as ever. Tim called me once after I got married, but never again.)

I spent a few Thanksgivings with my boyfriend and when my grandma passed away (when I was 19), Thanksgiving stopped being anything remotely special at my parents' house. It was just the five of us with a turkey, which I don't even like. Now there are four grandsons, which makes it a little more fun, but my family gets together all the time, so again, it's not that special.

Tim wasn't a bad guy, in the typical sense of the word, and nothing horrible happened to me. He was just selfish and judgmental and we never had a real relationship because I wasn't a boy. (He actually admitted to that. He wanted a boy and I was a disappointment.) There's not one day when I feel sad that he's not in my life. I hardly ever think about him and would hate to have to force a relationship. But it was annoying enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth about this holiday.

I am, however, extremely grateful for my dad who wanted me from day one. He has never treated me differently than my brother and sister, has always believed in me, pushed me, helped me, and loved me and my kids unconditionally. I really do have a lot to be thankful for, I just don't want to talk about it while eating stuffing. Or sweet potatoes. Or cranberry sauce. Or green bean casserole. Or pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving food is gross. I'm bringing a ham this year!

Regardless of my issues, I hope YOU have a wonderful holiday!


Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

I feel the exact same way about Thanksgiving. It's not that I hate it, but it's certainly not anywhere close to the top of the list of fave holidays. And I don't like Thanksgiving food either. I want ham, mac n cheese and bread. I'm Chandler.

Cole said...

I have that general feeling about Christmas. I try to fake it most years...but mostly I just want to give people I care about their presents and then go have a Netflix marathon.

Erin of TexErin-in-SydneyLand said...

I really, really appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in this post. Holidays are NOT happy events for everyone. And, there are legitimate reasons for those feelings. I hope you, your husband, your kids, and others can develop your own traditions were it evolves into something special for you. And, hell, no one says you have to have a set menu. We've been known to have catered fajitas for Thanksgiving in Texas before. And, it was damn tasty!