Being thankful

Nothing gets you thinking of the past more than the holidays.   

When I was with The Ex, on Thanksgiving we would deal with the chaos of his kids before heading to his parents’ place.  We never spent time at my parents’, only his.  His parents were wonderful, but eating Thanksgiving there was like any other dinner and they never made the food that was tradition in my family, so it never felt quite right.  After dinner, the kids would be hopped up on sugar and usually fighting with each other.  The TV would be blaring the entire time.  And The Ex would spend hours combing through their newspaper for Black Friday deals, ignoring his kids and allowing them to yell, scream and break things.  I always left with a headache. 

After dropping the kids off wherever they needed to be, we’d head home and he would dictate a list of places that I needed to go and things I needed to buy for his kids.  I work for a company that gives us the Friday after Thanksgiving off but despite the six weeks of vacation he is entitled to each year he would never take this day off.  Instead, I would drive around in the bad weather, stand in lines, be abused by cranky soccer moms and deal with the bullshit of Black Friday shopping, all so his kids could have everything they ever wanted, and then some.  I’d go home around 6AM exhausted.  I don’t ever remember a thank you from him, instead he’d say, “They are your kids, too!”  He always told me that, I think so that I’d feel guilty and so he’d never have to say thanks.

Knowing all this, I awoke this morning without the stress of the past.  I worked out, took my pups to the dog park and baked a pie.  I thought about all the things I was thankful for this year: my family, my friends, my great doggies, my health, my job.  I helped my mom cook while sipping a hot buttered rum and my dad said my mom was retarded and we both laughed until we cried.  The food was amazing (like I’d always remembered it) and then I cleaned the kitchen and packed up food for myself for the rest of the weekend.  After lounging around for a bit and almost falling asleep in the recliner, I decided to head home and let the turkey and carbs do their thing and put me to bed. Overall, the best Thanksgiving in years. 

But, on the way home a sense of sadness washed over me.  I guess it — even the chaos and the headaches — had become a part of my life and it felt weird to not be a part of it.  I took the long way home and drove by the house, not to stalk anyone, but just to see if by being there that feeling would go away, as it has before.  Sometimes, if I put myself back in that place, I really remember why I left.  You can’t romantisize reality.  This time, instead of bringing me back to reality, I felt a pull, and at that moment, I really wanted to be held in the arms of a warm, strong man, for a really long time.  I felt the need to have my face buried in a chest, smelling cologne and feeling warm air on the top of my head.  The Ex is an SOB, but for minute I just missed being held by him.  I knew that I could have walked up to the front door, knocked and gotten what I wanted.  But I also knew that would be opening a can of worms that I do not want to open.  I know I’m better off, by about 500%, now than I was back then.  Still, I cried all the way home.

Times like this make me realize how not over the demise of the relatinship I am.  I need to realize this will sting for a long time.  There is still Christmas, my birthday and Valentines Day to get through, so I have to be strong and stay busy, push through and get out the other side.  But, at the same time, I need to stop, feel and react.  I need to understand what I’m feeling, accept it and work through it.  I don’t need to find someone to keep me from feeling the loss, sadness and confusion of my last relationship.  I wasted a lot of time, I allowed some fucked-up things to happen.  I’m not going to let it all be for nothing.  If anything, I’m going to learn from it and really feel it, so I don’t do it again.

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