Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours. I hope it was warm and fun, and you were able to build your relationships, old or new.
If you are separated from family and friends, I trust you found a welcoming place to spend the day, and didn’t wind up like me on my first Thanksgiving away from home at age 19. I was a fresh college dropout and living on my own on the east coast, 3,000 miles from my family in Seattle. Someone I barely knew took pity on me and invited me for Thanksgiving dinner with his extended family, which sounded nice. Little did I know it would henceforth be known to me as “Thanksgiving from Hell.” It turns out that their most cherished family tradition was drunkenly insulting and threatening one another. I won’t go into all the details, but will only note that the last words of the afternoon from the family matriarch, before tearfully locking herself in her bedroom, were, “You have ruined another holiday for this family, Jeffrey.” I still don’t know which of the miscreants was Jeffrey. It could have been any of them.
After that I kind of avoided holidays with other people’s families, even adopting alternative Thanksgiving traditions. Once I even had Thanksgiving by myself, although that wasn’t so great, because I sort of made a version of Jeffrey inside my own head and felt miserable.
When the kids were little and we were living in Maryland, Mrs. B generally went to see her mom in Barcelona for Thanksgiving week, and took one of the kids, leaving me with the other two. For six or seven straight years, our Thanksgiving tradition was to eat at a local restaurant and then go to the movies. The kids loved it, but the waiter always looked at me with pity. His eyes said, “That's a newly-divorced father, with unexpected custody of the kids for Thanksgiving.” Then again, maybe that was just Jeffrey making mischief in my head again.