A Thanksgiving memory from the time when addiction caused alienation. No family gathered around a table. A crock pot Turkey breast combined with scarce side dishes was my Thanksgiving menu. Man’s best friend was my only companion while I prepared a feast for one. I held the beloved Rottweiler close as floats danced on the television celebrating the Macy’s tradition. One guest came, he is called husband now. He was full from his family dinner. He tried to make the best of a sad situation. I sat at an old wicker table, it was barely able to hold the weight from the food.
I’ve spent several Thanksgiving holidays surrounded by three long tables where relatives were sardine packed into a home, kids squeezed by unnoticed. And I spent one Thanksgiving alone, cooking only for myself. May my son never know the loneliness.
This will be his third big Turkey Day. He spent his first feast in a warm belly.
He was surrounded by the people who loved him. He was fed turkey, mashed potatoes, broccoli and sweet potato casserole. And lots of Perrier, it was my craving. It helped replaced the normal morning Mimosas. He helped make apple stuffing. Around the table was an air of excitement. The following Thanksgiving there would be a new addition to sit at the table. There would be the baby, my baby.
Then came Thanksgiving the next year. He napped in front of the parade. He stared wildly at the champagne flutes filled to the brim with Mimosas. He was dressed in a brown velvet pilgrim outfit with a light blue peter pan collar. He ate Turkey. And he loved his Nana’s pumpkin pie. Every bite was followed by a long ‘mmmmmmm’ sound. The day was blessed.
Blessings came in the form of family. A table was not empty. A turkey was made in the oven. There were leftovers to send home. The table was strong enough to seat all the company plus the food. Everyone ate at the same time. Laughter roared through a hundred year old red brick home. Although I was without my furry baby who I had lost several years earlier, I had been bestowed with a much larger family.
I don’t regret the empty Thanksgiving table I once sat at. It was a lesson I needed to learn. You reap what you sow. When you exhibit a person who is strung out, when you hurt the ones who love you the most, then there is no other place to end up but alone.
Redemption. Find it. Be thankful for the second chances. Be grateful that even though you hurt people, they still love you. They still come to your home or they invite you into their home, and you are a welcomed part in their thankful celebration. The bad days are only that, they are days. As the sun sets, happy days begin at dawn.