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A Post-Thanksgiving Post

I didn’t spend with my this year.  Instead I chose to spend the day with .  We had a pretty traditional Thanksgiving meal and a wonderful and relaxing day.

But unlike the friends I celebrated with, my family isn’t far away.  They’re local.  Less than an hour away,

Well, I say “they” but there isn’t that much of a “they” left.  There’s my dad and one sibling and some cousins.   I should’ve gone and spent the day with them, but chose not to.

It wasn’t until I read this great post in , 14 Things this Single Gal is Thankful For, that I realized the real reason why.  Because, while my mom and dad eventually got to a point where they were OK with the choices I’ve made, the rest of my family isn’t. Isn’t OK with the choices I’ve made and the life I have.  One of my cousins once said to me, in the middle of a holiday meal (a few years ago) that I better start thinking about getting married because I wasn’t going to be fertile for too much longer.

Quite frankly, I just didn’t think I had it in me to sit through another one of those family meals where I get grilled and bullied and pitied.   I just wasn’t up to it.  So even though my dad wanted me to be there, I had to say no.

I feel pretty damn blessed that I had the love and support of my parents, even when it was conflicted.  I know they tried.  And I know that whatever pressure I did feel, it was minor compared to what other people get from their families.  I can only imagine what my life would have been like if I was born into a different part of my family.  Who knows, maybe I’d be a happier person today if I was pressured into getting married years ago?  I doubt it, but anything is possible.

Anyway, I’m thankful that I’ve been able to, day by day, figure out my own way.  That my parents weren’t there, every step of the way, putting up barriers.   And that I have friends to spend the holidays with.

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9 to “A Post-Thanksgiving Post”

  1. TerrySimpson says:

    Each generation has to find its way- and the generation before eventually realizes it.

    Thanksgiving is a holiday- but it is just a day. You can always have a non-holiday where you spend just with your dad and sibling – and make it your own time with your family. They will understand that you didn’t want their day ruined because of conflict with another family member.

    You are fortunate– years ago when I divorced it was my parents who didn’t approve, and it was my aunt who I turned to for family for that period of time. They came around – and after one of my brother’s died we all realize the brevity of life and of our time with each other.

    You know you would not have been “happier” with a piece of paper- or having been married. It isn’t something you can force. My own story of my marriage shows that– I’m just happy there were no children.

    Sorry- I don’t give advice – and am not trying to here- just trying to be supportive. We are who we are- and if love comes along I have no doubt you will embrace it. But I don’t see you as a person who will force the issue, or have it forced upon you.

    It is good to have friends to spend the holiday with- we get to pick our friends- so enjoy the holiday with them. That is something to be thankful for.

  2. jackie summers says:

    A few years ago when my father was still alive, my parents invited me over for Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe it’s because of their five children I am the only one with no spouse and children, but that year i was the ONLY person they invited. I spent a lovely day cooking with Mom, offered a sincere grace, and had a delicious meal with my Mom and Dad.

    When dinner was over, we were sitting fireside eating sweet potato pie, when my mother asked mw what i was thankful for that year. ‘Mom’ I said, ‘I am SO THANKFUL you did not invite my idiot brothers and sisters. They get on my last damn nerve.’

    I got hit for that, but it was worth it. ,-)

  3. Shannia says:

    How long have I been reading you.. almost a year probably. Stumbled upon your blog by chance and I am so grateful for that. You say a lot of the things I think, sometimes, it helps make it all clearer. You are a strong woman Simone, that’s what makes me coming back to read you.
    This x-mas will be the first with my family without my fiancé. My parents know how unhappy he made me at the end and understand why I had to end the relationship. Last year I chose to stay in Canada for the hollidays because it was so fresh I couldn’t face family. This year I am flying home on the 24th and I am scared of how my siblings and the rest of the family will react. 36 single no kids muslim and Indian… my life might as well be over right? I don’t even feel like having to explain to them that actually, my life is just starting and it’s beautiful. But I have to go, I miss my parents way too much.

  4. lucky gal says:

    Simone, this is a lovely post. While I am familiar with the bittersweet taste of choosing to spend a holiday away from family, it seems so clear that your parents raised you to have the self-understanding, self-respect, fortitude and ability to take care of yourself. That is gift, one which you acknowledge.

    What your cousin said struck me, as it would any person living outside the imposed norm of convention. It didn’t have to be your cousin. It could just as well have been your next door neighbor, your mail carrier or your elementary school librarian. The thing about comments like those, is while they sting, the analgesic for them is found in the knowledge that these comments are more revealing about the speaker than they are the target. So many people can only understand the world that mirrors their own circumstance, values and expectations. They don’t know how to process anything outside of that. And so, they advise without solicitation on how to live more like them, while they look longingly over their own fence at our freedom and yearn for a taste of it.

    Your taste of this freedom is why you’ve been able to create your own family of friends, why you can have all the time and love with your father and sibling on any day regardless of whether there’s turkey involved and why your cousin will both never really be able to hurt you, nor understand you.

    From my vantage point, there is only one person here who is missing out, and it is not you.

    Thanks for sharing this. It obviously struck a chord :-)

  5. Simone Grant says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and constant support. I’d like to think you’re right. That my life turned out the way it was supposed to, sans hubby & rugrats – at least for now…
    -jackie summers
    That sounds like an amazing day and a wonderful memory to hold onto. Thank you for sharing it with me.
    You’re pretty damn strong yourself. I have no doubt that you’ll be able to survive this trip with grace and patience. You’ve made a successful life for yourself. Maybe not the one your family would have chosen, but a wonderful, successful life. How many people can really say that, in all honesty?
    -Lucky gal
    Thank you. I appreciate your kind words, but I do have to correct you. The truth is that my cousin, and people like him, can and do hurt me. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. Each time I have another person tell me what’s wrong with my life, each time I have to read more hateful reasons why everything I want for myself is wrong, each time I hear another insult hurled my way… it all adds up and hurts. Because as strong as I am, there is a tiny little place inside of me that still wonders if I’m doing everything wrong.

  6. MissLeeDates says:

    Hi Simone,

    We don’t have thanksgiving here in Australia, but I feel the same pressure around Xmas time as you do. Both my siblings are married and there in-laws have dragged them away from what used to be a very close family unit at Xmas time. We are still close of course, but marriage changes that I guess.

    Since my father died, my mother and I have become the widow and the single one. Each year I feel we become a little bit of a burden and can no longer demand my sisters presence on Xmas day, but must let them join their in-laws now that we are the minority.

    Of course in-laws are not always heaps of fun and one of my sisters has to put up with lots of inner family turmoil what with one sister not talking to another brother and the mother not talking to the father, blah, blah, blah.

    Enough already! This year I decided to make my own fun and stop fitting in with everyone else so I am stealing my mother away to Fiji for a week of girl time and pampering. Now we’ll see who has the most fun over Xmas!

    Enjoy what we have now as tomorrow it may not be there (or be as fun as we thought it would be).

    Miss Lee.

  7. grad student says:

    I guess I could understand from parents. Parents love the idea of grandkids. While I am married, we have no kids. I sometimes wish we did, but we do love our nephews and get to spoil them and be the fun aunt and uncle.

    So, I guess cutting parents slack for awhile is worthwhile. But, other family members making those comments are just rude. Just cuz someone’s family doesn’t mean you MUST like them. :)

  8. Singletude: A Positive Blog for Singles says:

    I wasn’t with my family this Thanksgiving, either, because I wasn’t physically up for the annual four-hour trip and couldn’t have eaten the dinner anyway. Part of me missed them, but another part didn’t mind the break. While my family is thankfully not too pushy about “settling down,” they’ve been pretty vocal about other aspects of my life that they think I should handle this way or that, and this is said without even full knowledge of the strengths and limitations that make me who I am because this is extended family that I only see a few times a year, if that.

    So, I understand and empathize with how it feels to be trapped at dinner with a family who makes it clear that they don’t approve of the decisions you’ve made. I have no good suggestions for handling these situations because even though there are little quips you could make or strategies you could use to deflect the attention from you, nothing is going to change that you know how your family feels, and it’s that knowledge that hurts. I guess getting past the hurt is all about learning to give those opinions less importance in your life, but that’s always easier said than done. Anyway, I know how you feel.

  9. dmfontana says:

    You are lucky to have your parents and friends supporting you. I am lucky enough to have a family that has supported my decisions all the way… that does not mean they agreed with them, just supported them, which in a lot of ways may be better.

    You may need to show up at one of these events soon to support your parents, if so you can drag any of us along as your adopted children… tell your cousin you went the Madonna / Angelina Jolie route and decided to just adopt strange, unusual and older kids.