Thanksgiving Thoughts: Past and Future

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. 

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8 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Thoughts: Past and Future

  1. Sounds like you had a lovely, memorable day your mother would have loved to be a part of. It’s so good that you have warm memories from your last Thanksgiving and that she’d been able to come to your home. And I firmly believe that God is big enough to handle every single one of your varied emotions. After all, He’s the author of “all of the joy and pain and beauty and gluck.” Enjoy your time together as a family and I may need to know more about this Pink Stuff??? My mom never made pink stuff =)

  2. Well, first Thanksgiving for the baby and the first one without Mom had passed. It was hard. Thanksgiving is so all about mom, you know? I wished I helped her more in thanksgivings past – with the cooking, etc. She just always did everything, you know?

    Cold here in Seattle, sort of befits my mood. Miss mom.

    Dressed up Eliana in a little santa outfit today and took pictures. Couldn’t help but think of how much mom would have adored that.

    Good luck, whatever your husbands decision. I hope he stays. God bless you and your family.

    Greg in Seattle

  3. You have a lot of wonderful things to be thankful for. 🙂

    It’s good to focus on those. Depression comes and goes. I’ve been “diagnosed” with depression several times and probably still suffer from it given all the stuff happening constantly and non stop in my life. However, positive affirmations do help a lot. And I find that blogging helps too. Keep the traditions alive that you do have and create some new ones too. I find that those and your family can make just about anywhere home when you need someplace to be home.

  4. Oh, how I know what you mean! When we were watching the Macy’s parade, I told the boys that Santa was going to be on it soon, just like my mom. I got misty eyed when we put on the tablecloth for Saturday’s party that I host for her side of the family every year. I promised her I would keep the family together. I just felt that she should have been there on the end of the couch talking to her cousins. I looked at the couch and she was not there. It’s sad. Like you, I want my mom’s advice and wisdom, but it’s not there. I try to remember as much as I can. We were not meant to be motherless daughters this young.

  5. Hey, make sure you have a good Christmas, huh?! Don’t try to make it a replica of Christmas-past, just pick out one or two people who give you joy, and make sure you see them to tell them how you feel about them.
    -C

  6. I find that I can get through the holiday okay, but afterwards is when I feel saddest. I guess there’s a lot to do during and before the actual holiday. But it’s so good that you are remembering what you have to be thankful for.

    My Grandma died 18 months ago, and I find myself missing her a great deal during the holidays again. She was like a mom to me. I’m thankful that I had her in my life for so long, but it’s still hard. I was just writing about this on my blog today. Weird how sometimes out of the blue, grief strikes.

    Anyway, hang in there!

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