Wingman loved Thanksgiving because he loved good food and lots of it, but would turn into Ebenezer Scrooge the day after. I should have figured that the man who gave me a frying pan our first Christmas really didn't like the holidays the way I did. His only concession to enjoyment was watching Charlie Brown's Christmas once a season. Last year, Thanksgiving was only four months after his passing. I had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, but wasn't asked to join the in-laws: everyone was still licking their wounds from losing both him and his father within months of each other. Me and my sons were but a painful reminder. Que sera, sera.
This year, my friends have invited me to some really cool holiday events up to and including New Years Eve. I was really looking forward to one of them until someone asked "What the F#@% do you want to go to that one for?" My entire holiday bubble deflated as fast as a cigarette to a helium balloon as I was talked out of what was to be a beautiful evening. And I questioned myself-why do I want to go to them? What am I trying to prove...and to whom? After all, all of them are couple parties and I'm THE WIDOW. I rationalized that I come home to the nicely renovated house, and I eat alone, and watch TV alone and I'm going to go crazy ALONE unless I do something and open myself up to doing things that make me happy. All the Christmas trees and lights and cookies in New Jersey won't do it if I'm alone and doing nothing.
Then something wonderful happened at work. A woman who Wingman and I catered for years ago came in. She didn't know he had passed and we shared some family stories. Then she quietly invited me to do something with her and her husband. Me, the widow. Something, she said, that will make me remember the real meaning of Christmas. We exchanged phone numbers, and I said that I would be in touch.
The story could have stopped there, but she called me yesterday, and insisted I join them. Tonight. So instead of sitting home alone, I will be volunteering with others. Sharing my night with people who care less about tuxes and gowns that they wear to feel good about themselves than in giving joy to others. Because there are people, wonderful people in my life who want to make the world a better place, and want to include me in their joy instead of making me sad.
And for that, I am grateful. Grateful for finding this before a deflated holiday bubble turned me into Scrooge myself.
Happy Thanksgiving. If the weather is good, I plan to go to NYC and see the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Maybe check something off of my Awesome List! Then, I am going to celebrate and give thanks for what I have-not what I am missing or what I want. Because after all, it's a wonderful time of year, and a wonderful world.