I knew this year the holidays would be different. I’d be creating my own traditions. You see, I recently separated from my husband after 24 years. At the age of 45, I was going to learn to live on my own for the first time. My daughter now 23, is married to a wonderful young man, and has a life of her own. My son is 22, and determined to be a lawyer. He and his girlfriend have a place and lives of their own also. My ex-husband and I have raised them well, but we didn’t prepare them for the possible loss of our family unit. That familiar sense of home that they’ve been used to all of their lives is now gone. I didn’t realize that leaving would change all of us so damn much.
I ventured out on my own September 26, 2013. Just me and a UHaul full of what used to belong to Roger Darling and me. Friends helped me unload the packed truck, because no one in my family was willing to help. I do understand why though, as I didn’t ask any of them for their assistance. I was bound and damned determined to do all of it on my own. I unpacked every single box by myself. I set up my home like I wanted. I hung curtains, painted, decorated and took care of turning on the utilities myself. Days became a week. The weeks turned into months. I became settled, comfortable and dare I say, satisfied.
Then came November and the thought of Thanksgiving without Roger and the kids. How strange it would be sitting at my sister and brother-in-law’s dining room table without them. I was prepared for it. Or so I thought.
Thanksgiving morning, I prepared butternut squash, and took care to scoop it out of the skin into a Pyrex dish. I cut salted butter into it and mashed it well. After salting and peppering it, I covered the dish with aluminum foil and placed it back in the oven. Next, I baked the sweet potatoes. I don’t sweeten them. I just bake them with the skins on. The heat of the oven brings out their natural sugariness. My little apartment smelled of the holiday, but I was the only one there to enjoy it.
Before I left to join my family for dinner, I sent a text to Meggie and Adam Boy. I wished them a joyous holiday and told them to enjoy spending time with their dad. I knew Roger Darling would have a harder time without me being with him. After all, I was the one that chose to separate. I even sent a message to Rog, telling him to enjoy the day. His reply was a sad one. It made me wish I could take his pain away, but I knew this was something we all had to experience so we could continue to heal emotionally. We had to learn how to live our new ‘normal’.
At about 1:30 p.m. I packed up the food I’d prepared and made the 10 minute trip to my sister and brother-in-laws house. The reception I received when I arrived was light hearted and friendly. My father and step-mom hugged me. So did my mom. I hugged my sis and Broseph, and niece and nephews. Sis sat at her kitchen table with me. We played catch up on each other’s lives. She was so good to me. I helped her clear the kitchen counter.
She asked, ‘have you made peace with your decision?’
I replied, ‘yes Hon, I have. I know it was the right thing to do, for everyone.’
I realized how much I loved my Sis that day. I knew in my heart she finally ‘got’ me and that I was going to be okay.
About an hour after I arrived, my kids replied to my text. Adam Boy’s reply was short. He told me Happy Thanksgiving and to say hi to his grandma for him. Meggie kept texting me to tell everyone a big hello. Said she might even stop by later if she got a chance.
Dinner was sumptuous and we ate heartily. We knew dinner was good by how quiet we all were after our plates were filled. As we ate, we began to chat. Talking a little about Christmas and where we would all be for the celebrating. I thought I’d feel out of place without the familiar, but I was okay. I knew I was going to adjust to this new normal.
At the end of the evening, I ventured home with my allotment of leftovers and a couple of dirty dishes. As I sat alone in my little apartment, I received a text from Meggie. She and her husband Chris, and their puppy, Teddy would be stopping by to say hello. It was the perfect ending to my day. It would have been great if both of my kids could have made it, but I was thankful nonetheless.
Christmas is coming, and with it more new traditions. I baked cookies and decorated my own tree. I even wrote out my own Christmas cards. But I followed my old tradition when I signed the cards. I watched It’s a Wonderful Life, ate some Snickerdoodles, and drank coffee.
I don’t mourn the past because it was pretty damn good. I don’t fear the future, even though it is uncertain. I live my life one day at a time, and I pray that love will come to me again. I pray it comes to Roger Darling also.
(Renee is one of my favorite people I have met blogging. I asked her if she would be interested in guest blogging about whatever she wanted to, and she sent me this gem. Check out her blog: Rendez-vous with Renee) If you would like to do a guest post, just leave a comment or email me @ email@example.com. Stay Tuned Next Monday from a Guest Post from D’uh Merica