I have so many things to be thankful for and yet as I sit here I am not feeling very thankful.  Sad but true. Sometimes, while understanding the importance of the big picture, the little picture gets in the way.  And when that happens, it’s a little harder to let the big picture have its day.

We are a product of our upbringing whether we want to admit it or not.  Sometimes the result is to do things as our parents or those that influenced us did them, and sometimes it is to do the opposite. The influence doesn’t stop when we reach adulthood.  Whether good or bad, it continues to mold.

For me the holidays have always been a struggle.  My family didn’t do many big gatherings with relatives for several reasons, all legitimate.  My mother, during my growing up years, was an only child.  (The story of having siblings found later in life is too long for here.)  And for most of my life, we lived states away from her parents.  If we had any, I do not recall holidays at all with my mother’s family.  We also did not normally live close to Dad’s side.  I recall a Thanksgivings spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s if we happened to be living close enough to drive in.  Strangely enough, I do not recall these events pleasantly.  It seems that drama always ensued.

So all this information is to say that I recall most of my growing up years to be Thanksgiving with my parents and brothers.  How factual this information really is, I cannot be certain. I just know that big, nice, warm Thanksgivings with football in the backyard, and cups of cider aren’t what pop into my head.

After marrying, the view changed.  His family is larger and much more involved in our lives.  My family faded out.   Since my marriage, my parents have not hosted one family event at their home.  If we get together, and that’s a big if, it is my home or at one of my two brother’s homes.  Travel is not an issue since we live in the same area, so it’s about arriving to eat, light conversation and going home.   Each year as the holiday approaches, I feel anxiety build.

We’ve hosted many a day, with one side or the other.  Last year we hosted my family, in another attempt to bring some closeness into us, but it was a disaster due to my father and his never-ending talking.  No one could get a word in and some of the topics were out of line.  People fled the second dinner was over.  After years of trying to keep things afloat, I decided to let it go.  I’ve always wanted a Thanksgiving that was my children and their families coming home to us.  Without drama.

My youngest son could not be with us and missed Thanksgiving entirely last year.  I wanted this year to be the make up year and have a nice day with him and my older son’s family.  The plans were made, menu etc.  But, alas, I did not count on my daughter in law.

New to our family, but never one to consider any feeling but her own, my son, my D-I-L and my only grandchild will not be coming here for the day.  Her immediate family is not gathering, with one of her sister’s going to her in-laws, but my D-I-L likes the stuffing her Aunt makes, so they are going to that Aunts house for the day.

So my request for a gathering was ……ignored?…disregarded?….I am not sure of the correct word.  My son,  what can I say, didn’t want to rock the boat.    I guess a compromise decision-making process is not part of their relationship.

So, we are cooking and the three of us will eat the best of the best, watch TV, play Wii, and nap.

And the next time money needs to be borrowed, maybe her aunt can loan it to her.

Bitter, party of one.  Yes, I know.  No one needs to tell me.