Well the holiday barrage is almost upon us and we are all about to be swooped up into celebrations, overeating, reflecting, and possible impending anxiety (if the truth be known, family gatherings sometimes do that). I call this the Thanksgiving to Christmas holiday corridor. With that anxiety comes the expectations of where you have to be and what is expected of you for holidays.
As a retired single woman, holidays are very different now than when I was a single mom, raising my sons. Back then was a no brainer. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would pack up the car and go to my parents and family in Rockford to celebrate Thanksgiving and then a month later, go again for Christmas. It was our ritual; our no brainer holiday expectation. And I made that drive regardless of rain, sleet or snow.
But now, as a single person, with my sons literally on separate parts of the country, I find myself with a multitude of choices on what to do; where to go; should I cook or not. It is not realistic to expect them to come for Thanksgiving and then a month later, Christmas.
Last year was fabulous, I spent it in Atlanta with a road trip to Ft. Lauderdale to celebrate Thanksgiving Jamaican style with my son and daughter-in-law and my new extended family, who I absolutely adore. We had a ball. And not wanting to overstay my welcome, I was home for Christmas.
Life is ironic, isn’t it? Back when I was working, I barely had time to celebrate things because school took all of my energy. Now that I am retired and have the time, a fixed income is my inhibitor. It is not easy to jump on a plane to go to one end of the country for Thanksgiving and then the other end for Christmas. So I am challenged on what to do. I have many options; almost to the point of just not making a choice. Now my biggest decision is: Do I go somewhere for Thanksgiving or do I wait and go for Christmas? With Thanksgiving this year, here are my choices:
- I have family here in town where I have been invited to celebrate Thanksgiving. That in itself is a blessing.
- I have single friends where we could get together to celebrate.
- I know I always have the choice of visiting Atlanta.
- I could stay home and volunteer at a shelter, feeding the homeless.
- I could cook and invite friends over.
- I could cook just for myself.
There are so many choices. As we are now entering the lead up week to Thanksgiving, I am still not sure what I want to do. But that in itself is a gift. I realize I get to plan what I want to do. Nothing is expected. Nothing is dreaded or obligatory. It is a choice. Whatever I choose, I will miss not being with my kids. Even when I see one, I am missing the other. That is the hardest part. Everything else is secondary.
But there is Christmas coming up! And the choices certainly will continue. And for me that continues to be a blessing!