We are a few hours away It’s Thanksgiving here in California. I am alone in my apartment. It’s difficult to avoid thinking about the past in these situations. And since I will be driving to my parents house tomorrow, this is likely my only chance to write some words down.
My history with Thanksgiving isn’t fun for me to recall. It should be. When I was a kid, I spent every Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house. (My grandpa on that side died when I was a few months old. I’m told he liked me very much. I’m not sentimental towards family – though this post might suggest otherwise – but I am always disappointed I don’t get to have any memories of him. What I know of him is fascinating, and I’m sure it would have been nice to have him around during my childhood.) My family (mother, father, brother) essentially would wake up and leave for my Grandmas. My uncle and aunt would be there too, and very rarely, their children. I hate my cousins so I was always happen when they weren’t there. As for my memories of the day itself, I have a few, but almost none of my grandma. She would get everything ready, while my brother and I, and later just I, would run around playing. I have memories of playing board games with invented rules, and playing with hot wheels in the garage. They were nice times, but not much to look forward to, and I always complained about being forced to go. (Similar story for Easter, with a worse outcome that I will always regret.) I could have enjoyed myself more. I could have appreciated my grandma and parents. But I wanted to have more fun, or I wanted to be left alone, depending on the year. I rarely ever had an extended conversation with my grandma. Then she died when I was 12. It was really hard for me at the time because I felt I wasted my chance to get to know her. She was the first death I had to deal with. When I was a little younger my great grandma died, but I had only seen her once. I really didn’t know who she was and her dying didn’t force me to deal with what death actually meant. When my grandma died my whole world was redefined to include the concept of people never being around again. Someone can stop existing. Have fun explaining that to a child. That was tough for my little brain. And it was tough to shoulder that sort of regret and guilt.
The following years, Thanksgiving was a nonevent. I was moving into my especially confused teen years and we had nowhere to go, anyway. My brother soon moved out to go to college. For a few years, I didn’t even see him on Thanksgiving. When I was 17 and 18, I spent Thanksgiving completely alone. I had a few options, but they weren’t attractive to me and I decided to spend the day in my self-inflicted melancholy. One night, I ate at Jack in the Box on Thanksgiving night. All alone. Luckily, I had nice friends stop by to check on me later that night. Man… I really put them through a lot.
Eventually, I moved out of my parents house to go to college and definitely not to fuck about in a rock band… When I was serious about school again, I started going home more regularly and things got a lot better between my parents and I. A new Thanksgiving tradition-esque started.
In less than 10 hours I’ll be heading home to see my parents and my brother. I don’t have much extended family so that’ll be about it. We’ll talk about what I’m doing with my life. I’ll try to quickly move the conversation forward. We’ll talk about what my brother is doing. My mom will probably piss him off by asking too many questions. My dad will talk to me about science.
It’s a little strange not having a huge deal on Thanksgiving. I’ve been to friends places and there’s always 10-30 people. Extended families and family friends. Huge tables, gross amounts of food, and way too much noise. My day is almost like a regular dinner for most. Calm and fairly quick. Nothing like my friends or portrayals on tv.
I’ve rambled for FAR too long.
If someone makes it this far, amazing! For being such awesome readers, I’ll leave you the option of directing me to a band/song you love. And I promise I will listen to the song (or check out the band).