I'm not sure why it's such a tragedy that I actually kind of want to stay home (my "staycation") and spend Thanksgiving long weekend on my own this year. People I worked with were kind of shocked, and about ten of them invited me out to their place in the suburbs to eat with them. I thanked them profusely, then declined. It was very nice of them, but frankly, I'm fucking thrilled I don't have to go anywhere this weekend or deal with any family. And the last thing I want to do is take a train out to the suburbs to be friendly to people I don't know and look amused by other people's children, since I still haven't bought a new car. Maybe I'll do that this weekend. Oh, and unfortunately, all of my good friends (or as I prefer to call them, the people I would want to spend Thanksgiving with) are out of town doing family stuff. Damn them.
We aren't big Thanksgiving people in my family. Oh, let's get together and eat! No, we don't really care that much about food. Never have been that into it, since we are pretty much thankful for each other all year long. Any focus on Thanksgiving got exponentially worse once three out of four of us kids moved approximately 3-6 hours away from mom's house. Only H still lives in the vicinity of mom. After I moved to Chicago in 2001, I made an effort and drove to the D for about six Thanksgivings in a row. On around three of the six, it was a miserable drive due to the snow in western Michigan. Once it took me ten hours to get there. This is normally about a four and a half to five hour drive, depending on how long it takes to get out of Chicago. Let me tell you, that got old real fast, especially since I do the drive again at Christmas. I know...fly, right? But then I have to rent a car, or else I am trapped at my mom's house. Most of my high school friends live 30-45 minutes from my mom, since my mom no longer lives where I grew up, so not having a car of my own in which to escape and see people is not an option. I fly enough and rent enough cars for work, and I kind of hate the whole ordeal now. It's just such a huge pain in the ass. Usually it's easier to drive, with exceptions. It occurred to me a few years ago that it just wasn't worth it, since I always go for Christmas, a mere four weeks later. Why do it twice in such a short timespan for a holiday we don't even really care about?
As for my siblings, my brother W pretty much abandoned all of us for holidays once he got married, both the first and second time. Occasionally he shows up for Christmas. It's always a shock when he does, because he never thinks to tell us in advance that he's coming. He's kind of an odd duck. My sister M and her husband used to alternate Thanksgiving and Christmas each year with his family and ours, so she is occasionally around for Thanksgiving. I'm not quite sure how that whole deal is going to work now that they will have two kids who need Christmas morning at home. H is around for Thanksgiving, but since the bar she works at is open on Thanksgiving, she usually works. So, generally it was me, my mom, my grandma, M and J sitting around eating turkey and being kind of bored. (My mom doesn't let us watch football at her house, so this is a major, major detriment to any of us wanting to be there on Thanksgiving day.)
So, this year H is working, W is incommunicado, and M is eight months pregnant, so not coming. My option was to go to the D and sit around with my grandma and mom for the weekend, which really wasn't that appealing. I love my mom and all, and we have fun shopping, but it's kind of boring, and I can't watch football, and this is a huge week for my fantasy league. (God, how shallow is that? Let me rephrase...I also have to work. No, I really do.) Oh, and I'd have to spend a fortune to rent a car to get there, or take the train or a plane, and that wasn't happening. I mean, I was just there two weeks ago, and I saw my mom, grandma, H and M. (Ha...do you see what I did there? H&M?) So, I opted to stay here. My mom was going to come out here so we could shop, but then she kind of felt bad about leaving my grandma alone, since she is leaving her alone at Christmas due to M's upcoming daughter, and I shared that guilt, so we decided she would come out in the spring when the weather is better.
I have no problem with this. We have very small immediate family and a practically non-existent extended family in the Detroit area. (My dad's side of the family we see at Christmas. Now Christmas, we all make an effort. But Thanksgiving? Eh.) I will be going to my mom's or M's for Christmas (since M's baby is due December 26), and I have a trial in the D in January. So, it's not like I'm not going to see these people over the next two months.
What was surprising to me was how many people cared that I was spending Thanksgiving alone, when I was really just looking forward to watching the Thanksgiving Day parade, followed by three football games, and cooking up some mashed potatos, stuffing, and turkey all for myself (ha!), and not having to deal with anyone else. I also bought a pumpkin pie at Trader Joe's, so I'll be snacking on that. I happen to like my alone time. And I will probably talk on the phone to my mom, H, and M tomorrow, so I won't really be alone. Maybe W will even call me. Sometimes, randomly, he does. Or maybe I'll call him. I never feel alone when I'm physically alone. I've got peeps, as they say, or used to say. We are all thankful for each other all year long, so why does it matter that we aren't physically together on this one particular day? It doesn't. That's what I've realized.