Friday, November 27, 2009

More than Black Friday: Thoughts the Day After Thanksgiving

We enjoyed a very nice Thanksgiving dinner hosted by my ex-husband Gene and his wife Catherine. They have a beautiful old home on the Hudson River, north of Schuylerville. As Russ and I arrived , a huge flock of geese was landing across the river, making an incredible noise as if to welcome all arriving. And we were a crowd! With Catherine's two daughters and four of our five children, and associated parters and babies, we totalled 17 and managed to sit all around one expanded table. Catherine is a vegetarian, and she and her daugther Marcy cooked the entire traditional meal, turkey and all, along with vegan offerings for the vegetarians among us (at least four).

This was our third joint Thanksgiving dinner, and it's a happy occasion for our kids who don't have to choose which of their divorced parents they're going to share the day with, and an especially happy day for a Mom who doesn't have to miss the party while her kids are all off having a great time without her! It's a great solution, though I doubt many divorced families can get beyond some of the heavier baggage to allow themselves this liberation. I'm so glad we did. It provided a rare opportunity to appreciate the good things and silver linings that always come after a storm. It's easier on the kids, too. Rather than rush through a meal here and run to a meal there, they get to enjoy their family all at once. I loved sitting at the table and listening to my kids enjoy each others' company. 'They spent all those years together, and after things warm up, we're right back to the comfortable familiarity that makes us a family. My son Joe wasn't there, and he was missed, and I look forward to the Thanksgivings in the future when he takes his place at the table.

I don't get together with all of my children often enough, and I miss that. I really am grateful to Gene and Catherine that they've opened their home to me, Russ, and all the kids. Ours may not be a conventional holiday gathering, but it feels like family, through and through.

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