Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gay Divorcee at Thanksgiving

My former partner and I spent 23 Thanksgivings together. After we parted company in 2001, we had one or two more (he was a member of my family despite our change in circumstance) before he relocated to another part of the country.

As I was driving around doing some errands today and feeling rather relaxed, I was hit by a pang of nostalgia. It was only a little surprising since I've come to expect that around this time of year. The older I get the more attuned I am to the bittersweetness of each holiday. It's a cliche, but the image of empty chairs at a table is an accurate one for me and for a couple of days each November/December I have to work to not let it overwhelm me.

Ex and I hosted Thanksgiving for my family and our friends for most of the years we were together. I recall from my childhood how my mother collected folks at the holiday - people with no family in the area, usually. Ex and I continued that tradition and through the years the celebration got larger and larger. As our relationship wound down, though, so did our extravagant holidays with our guest lists dwindling to just a few close friends. Not sad - at least not at the time.

Thanksgiving now is held at my sister's home and tomorrow will be a small crowd, including two couples from my days with Ex who are members of my family now as surely as he was. The only children in my family - my grandniece and nephew - will be sharing turkey with a certain Florida-based rodent. I'll miss them because 5 and 8 are such an interesting age and they are such delightful children. They're too young to remember Ex, but they love Uncle Ollie and his straight "white guy" hair is a source of endless fascination to them! We'll have them back at Christmas if their mom, my nephew's wife, decides she doesn't want to be a Jehovah's Witness in December. She goes back and forth.

I'm trying to learn a new way to be thankful which isn't always easy. Very often when we consider all that we are thankful for, it is in the context of what others don't have - a good example would be I'm thankful for good food because many are hungry. I try to make an effort to simply be thankful for it all - food, breath, my family, my job, the 2.4 people who read this blog - all of it. Frankly, I just don't think I need a context for that other than waking up to a new day.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving,