Thanksgiving is over and I find myself feeling sad. Thankful, yes. But also sad.
Why am I suprised? I was just diagnosed with depression. 😉
I think I miss my Mom on these days more than I realize. I made her pink stuff and her apple pie. I remembered, without her reminder, to take the turkey out to thaw a few days ago, and for the third time at the age of 26, I hosted Thanksgiving on my own. That has as much to do with our Navy lifestyle as it does with her being gone, but I always miss her wisdom and practicality as I undertake the task of playing hostess and cooking all the fixings.
I thought a lot about past Thanksgivings today. I thought of the quiet Thanksgivings that we’d have at home. We didn’t do much but eat, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and watch copious amounts of television, while Dad worked on the Christmas lights outside. I remember the Thanksgiving that Mom made each of us a Cornish Hen and I turned my nose up at it. Yes, I want to smack the young version of myself upside the head. And, of course, I remember my last Thanksgiving with Mom–just days after she was diagnosed. Even though she felt terrible, she made the mashed potatoes for me. It was the only time she ever got to visit us out here in Washington. She asked her doctor if it was ok for her to make the trip and rationalized that now was not the time to be putting off living that she wanted to do. I showed her and Dad around, and they bought me a beautiful rocking chair especially for rocking babies. I can remember standing in the furniture store looking at the rocking chair and thinking, “It looks snuggly. Will I sink myself into this chair when I need to feel my mother’s arms around me?” I do that, now. I do. I hold my babies and I sink into the chair and I imagine it’s Mom holding us all.
I’m also thinking about the Thanksgivings in our future. I’m not sure where we’ll be next year at this time. I’m not sure if Husband will re-enlist. We could be here, or in another state. We could be back in the places that used to be ‘home’ but feel less like it these days. I feel a lot of anxiety about those changes. And at the thought of leaving, I feel a deep sense of loss. I’m not ready to leave this place that is finally feeling solidly like home. Sometimes I feel like I’m not cut out for this life–missing my husband, never settling down. And that’s partly why we suspect this Navy part of our family journey is going to be shorter than longer. Still… it is my reality now.
I am thankful though. I am thankful for the experience of being a Navy Wife. I’m thankful for the country that I’ve seen and for the chance to live in the beautiful Northwest. I’m thankful that it has caused me to fall so in love with the ocean, that I can’t go too long without sinking my feet into sand and watching waves roll in. I’m thankful that my husband is willing to make sacrifices for our country. I’m thankful for the wonderful friends we’ve made–many of whom were crowded around our table eating turkey and Sweet Potatoes, and Pink Stuff with us today.
I’m thankful that it has been part of my making. That it has helped me to grow up. That it’s made me get over myself time and again.
And I’m thankful for this beautiful family of mine. We’ve had times together of glorious joy and times of profound sorrow and we’ve gotten through all of them together. So I guess when I look forward and wonder what the next few months and years will bring for us, I need to simply remember that. I need to remember my gratefulness that we’ve gotten through it all holding tight to one another–all of the joy and pain and beauty and gluck. Sometimes the forward facing side of looking back is hope.
With that thought tucked away, I’m going to go watch the Thanksgiving episodes of my very favorite T.V. shows, tickle my girls, snuggle with my husband and maybe eat a little more Pink Stuff. I’ll be grateful for all that I’ve listed above, and grateful that I am allowed my emotions—all of them.