Wednesday, November 25, 2015

'Tis the season

{thanksgiving buffet 2012, dad's cornbread stuffing front and center}

Rationally, I knew that the holidays would be hard this year. And yet I was still sort of surprised to find myself hit with all this emotion as they approach. I know. It makes no sense. I guess I thought since I was prepared for it I'd be okay.

And I am okay, for the most part. I'm feeling it out as I go along and trying not to approach the holidays with any expectation of how I'm going to feel. I want to somehow hold onto some of the things that I love about this time of year but at the same time not expect myself to do much. I've had practice at this because the holidays have been bittersweet for several years now. We've spent them in the hospital, or at home but between hospital stints. We've learned to stay flexible and just appreciate whatever time we get together. I'm grateful for these lessons, thankful that I can look back and know that I was fully aware of how sweet those moments were, even when they were hard won. I've been humbled, taught that plans will fall apart and it doesn't matter if you're eating store-bought cookies instead of handmade pies, as long as you're together. But this year we won't all be together. And that somehow has to be okay too.

After a lot of thought we decided to skip Thanksgiving this year and just go camping again. I tear up at the drop of a hat these days and I don't think I'd be a great addition to anyone's table. But more than that, I think I just need some quiet to think and enjoy my memories, settle within myself as we move into this time of year.

I want this season to be quiet but not sad. I want it to go slowly, to not feel frantic. This is the first time I won't hear my dad's voice on Thanksgiving, the first time we'll celebrate his birthday without him, the first time I won't see him on Christmas Eve. I spend a lot of time flipping through old photos, remembering.

And so I'm not buying gifts (but we don't do much of that anyways, so that's not a big change). I got myself some yarn to crochet an afghan, even though I haven't done that in years. A project sounds cozy. I'm going to make some cookies, although definitely not as many as last year. I'm even going to decorate a little, I think. I'm going to spend time with family and friends but also make space to be alone.

I'm going to try to get back into taking pictures, and into writing here. No promises! But I do miss it and I want to be back, even if it's sporadic.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Eat some pie for me. And I have more Thanksgiving posts than seems humanly possible, so if you're looking for actual food/drink, you can click on the "holidays" tag or search "Thanksgiving" to see previous years.