Some realizations the “morning after” Thanksgiving
today at 9:36 am
I need to reflect on the “morning after” Thanksgiving. Yesterday, was wild, jarring at times, and also amazingly loving, thanks to my husband’s family and my dearest friends.
Here I was, sitting in Palm Springs at my nearly 90 year old mother-in-law’s home on Thanksgiving Day–yesterday. I was feeling a little sorry for myself: my kids were celebrating with their in-laws, one in Texas and the other in West Virginia. Though cognitively I understood their need to be with their in-law, I missed them. Yet, because I have siblings and the most incredible first cousins, I have learned to share and let go when needed. So, that means Thanksgiving is a holiday I might never spend with my adult children, but that’s ok. I understand that they need other people in their lives, just like I do.
Sometimes, however, I fail to appreciate how others can and will be supportive. I am getting there. The best advice that I ever received on families was from a friend who helped me out while I was struggling to understand family dynamics during serious COVID. A friend from the University of Michigan gave me two words of advice that ring so true: families evolve! All I can say is: you betcha and be open to evolution!
Not only do families evolve, one’s family changes and relationships expand or contract over time. Just like mine did.
Here is my current assessment of my “blood,” living family. My aunt and two first cousins fill voids in my life, and I am seeing some positive energy from my brother, who has been saddled with challenges in this life, but now is reaching out and acting supportive as he has more time.
Now on to the non-blood relatives. Years ago, one of my friends adopted me. He said: “I don’t like what I am seeing with respect to how your family treats you. You are now my sister.” I cannot tell you how grateful I was that he reached out to me and made me his sister. And when my husband was seriously ill a few years ago, he and his partner, were the first people I called for help.
More on the non-blood relatives. I have a pool of rockstar girlfriends (and some male friends beyond the two I discussed above) who walk beside me during life. Wow! I love when they push back on my ideas or behaviors–I know that everything they say simply comes from abundant love, from the heart and that is such needed reinforcement!
Back to Thanksgiving Day yesterday. My mother-in-law is a wise, wise woman. It took me awhile to realize that. Like any young mother (talking about me), I wanted to establish my new family and get grounded at first, and was skeptical about the role my husband’s family would play in my newly married life. What I didn’t realize forty years ago was that marriage is a seismic shift in one’s life, and the entire family needs to be open to the change and get grounded. I get this now!
So, as I watched my sister-in-law yesterday throw the most delicious, loving Thanksgiving in her new home (and she has endured a lot this year), I just sat back and enjoyed. My nieces (her daughters) fixed me a cocktail immediately after I arrived at my sister-in-law’s house. They eagerly embraced (just by listening to me) some of the excruciating pain I suffered yesterday–an unbelievable blow dealt from a member of my blood family who shall go unnamed, but could use boatloads of therapy because she’s so very stuck.
Yup, returning to the wisdom from my U of M friend that family’s evolve–this take on families makes so much sense to me! And as one door closes, perhaps new doors (no longer blood relatives)–that I have been previously been afraid to explore–open as well!
Happy post Thanksgiving. May you all be as fortunate as I am!
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