What…Me Worry?

I am exhausted.

I had built up so much anticipation, and was so tense, so sure that I was going to have to keep my guard up.

And then, my dad hugged me.

Everyone else greeted me with open arms as well, and it was the nicest time spent with family that anyone could ever hope for.

I would write more, but I am ready for a nap.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

What Are You Thankful For?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Usually at dinner, people often take turns saying what he or she is thankful for.

This year, I decided to participate in the 30 Days of Gratitude project. Being a part of this project has left me pleasantly surprised. Each day reaffirms that there are so many reasons to be thankful! I hope you’ll let me know what you’re thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

30 Days of Gratitude (through November 21)

Day 1: I am so grateful for my husband, Lee. Never have I met a more loving, caring, supportive individual. Not a day goes by that I don’t say “thank you” to the Universe for bringing him into my life. I am truly blessed.

Day 2: I am grateful for Facebook. I have reconnected with a lot of friends who I haven’t seen or talked to for years (hello, Penfield and CCHS!). Facebook has given me the pleasure of reconnecting with my mom’s side of the family (All Hail the Romaines!). Even though we live miles away from one another, I feel closer to you than ever. I miss you all so much.

Day 3: I am grateful for comedians. I worship them. I listen to their podcasts. I try to go see them perform as much as possible. Because no matter what my problems are, no matter how anxious I feel, comedians provide me with a diversion. I thrive on laughter, and I am grateful because they make me laugh.

Day 4: I am grateful for lazy days. Other than taking Blue to the vet this morning (she’s in excellent health, yay!), I did nothing. And it was wonderful. 🙂

Day 5: I am grateful for organizations such as Austin Pets Alive that save worthwhile animals who would otherwise be euthanized because of overcrowding. If it wasn’t for APA!, we wouldn’t have met Blue or Buddy, who are wonderful companions.

Day 6: I am grateful for the freedom to choose. I voted last week, and to be able to exercise my right as a citizen and choose who I think is the best person for the job made me feel powerful.

Day 7: I am grateful for curiosity and the way it nudges me to try something new. Because of curiosity, I’ve volunteered at a wildlife sanctuary, ushered at an ice-skating competition, and learned to knit and spin my own yarn.

Day 8: I am grateful for knitting. It satisfies both sides of my brain. My left side loves following the patterns and seeing how every stitch fits together like a puzzle. The right side is enamored with the colors and textures of the yarn. And in the end, I have something tangible. What a wonderful outcome!

Day 9: I am grateful for Bob Ross. Trees and clouds look a whole lot different to me because of him.

Day 10: I am grateful for antidepressants. Before I started taking them in 2000, I couldn’t drive more than 5 miles from my apartment. Three weeks later, I was able to drive three hours to Dallas. I’m not always on an even keel, but they have definitely changed my life for the better.

Day 11: I am thankful for my cousin Scott, and all the men and women who have fought for our country. I salute you!

Day 12: I am grateful for sleep and the restoration I feel after some worthwhile shut-eye.

Day 13: I am grateful for cold weather so I can wear my handknit hat and scarf!

Day 14: I am grateful to be able to work from home most days and walk our dogs at lunch. Buddy, in particular, is serious about his walks.

Day 15: I am grateful for flexibility. I believe that being flexible is one of the keys to a happy life. I always try to have a Plan A and a Plan B, so that if something comes up, I’m not stressed out about it. It has definitely helped me in many situations.

Day 16: I am grateful for my mom. She’s always been supportive of me, she’s fun to hang out with, and she is very generous. If it wasn’t for her, I would not have been able to try freelancing. Thank you, Mom, for everything. I love you!

Day 17: I am grateful for the technology in my car that reminds me when it needs to be serviced. It even lets me know what should be done! So today, the Fit and I are going to Sears to get its oil changed and tires rotated. Thank you, Fit!

Day 18: I am grateful for books. While I’m happy to have a Nook, there’s nothing like the real thing. The *swish* when turning a page and the *crack* of a book’s spine. The intoxicating aroma of fresh ink on paper. Books are the perfect companion on any day.

Day 19: I am grateful to be an aunt. My ex-husband was also an only child, so I didn’t know what I was missing. I love my nieces and nephew. They are smart, funny, and talented. And they live in Austin! Hearing them call me “Aunt Merrie” truly brightens my day.

Day 20: I am grateful to be alive. Yes, there are bouts of depression and anxiety. But I truly have a great life and am glad that I am able to experience with all my senses everything life has to offer.

Day 21: I am grateful for recipes that have been passed down from parents and grandparents. Not only are the baked goods delicious, my mind is flooded with wonderful memories of making them with my family and friends.

 

Thanksgiving Anticipation

So technically I’m late and I missed a day, but I’m going to say that my clock is a little fast and it’s still November 20, dang it!

I’m having anticipatory anxiety. Big time. About Thanksgiving.

One reason I’ve already talked about: Dad.

The other is that we’re going to my aunt and uncle’s house, and I haven’t really spoken with them in four years.

When Lee and I decided to get married and were making up the guest list, it was easy to invite all of his family because they’re so close (physically and emotionally). My side of the family is a bit more complicated.

The majority of my family lives on the west coast. My dad and stepmother live in Holland, and because they had come to visit for Thanksgiving four years ago, they weren’t going to be able to come in for the wedding on New Year’s Eve.

But Dad asked me if I would invite his sister and brother-in-law to the wedding to stand in for him.

I didn’t.

I can’t say that it’s Mom’s fault. It’s not. Ultimately it was my decision to say no.

My grandmother, Precious I called her, my dad’s mom, passed away in October 2007. She died with my mom by her side.

Before that, she was in a nursing home in Dallas. She had dementia and couldn’t live on her own anymore. With her son living across the pond, and her daughter moving to another state for a job opportunity, my mom volunteered to have my grandmother moved to a place in Houston.

This is what I know. I know that Mom visited Precious several times a week. I know that she brought my grandmother her favorite foods and fed them to her. That she put moisturizer on my grandmother’s face and hands and lip balm on her lips. I know that, even though they didn’t speak for a long while after my parents divorced, that they both loved each other very much and were happy to be in each other’s lives.

I know my mom tried her hardest to advocate for my grandmother. I know that she gave my dad and aunt updates on Precious’s condition. I know she was frustrated with the nursing home.

I don’t exactly know what happened that caused Dad and my aunt to decide to no longer include my mom in family decisions. But I know Mom was deeply hurt. I don’t know if Dad told her why the decision was made. All I know is that my mom wouldn’t go to the funeral.

And she never wanted to talk to or see my dad or aunt again.

I sent my aunt and uncle an announcement. Maybe I should’ve explained my reasoning for not inviting them, but I felt like I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Yes, they are family. But ultimately, the day was supposed to be about Lee and me, wasn’t it?

I didn’t hear anything about it until my dad contacted me and told me that my aunt was upset. That I should contact her. What got to me was that she didn’t contact me directly. Maybe she felt she couldn’t. Whatever the case may be, it has been a battle between me and Dad for almost four years.

Dad told me a couple of months ago that he and my stepmother were going to be in Austin for Thanksgiving and they would be staying with my aunt and uncle. And that my aunt would be happy if Lee and I came to dinner. Initially he said that he would let her know that I would like to be there, but I told Dad I would call her. We had a nice chat.

I may be having anticipatory anxiety for nothing, but I’m afraid of what I will say if they ask. I’m afraid of the disappointing stares. Of us all acting one way when we’re thinking something else.

I just want to spend time with my family. Is that so much to ask?