Rachel Gladstone for DivorcedMoms.com
I arrived in this country in my late-twenties and within a few years I’d embraced Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. Having children of my own helped me learn more about the origins of the festival. Their art projects, their writing assignments and classroom parties came with a heavy emphasis on being thankful for what we have. That’s hugely helpful after the hard journey through divorce. It’s also healthy and beneficial to be thankful for what you no longer have, as Rachel Gladstone with DivorcedMoms.com writes:
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s all about family and friends getting together, seeing how many times in one day we can eat ourselves to the bursting point and how many naps we can take.
There are no gifts to give, comfortable clothing is de rigueur and if you want to take your life in your hands, Black Friday comes fast on the heels of Turkey Thursday, and the shop-till-you-drop marathon that begins at 4:00 in the morning (if you’re truly dedicated) will leave you exhausted and good for nothing but eating leftovers and taking more naps. Thanksgiving is a day we like to proclaim how thankful we are for what we have. But what about the things we are thankful we don’t have?
For instance, I am thankful I don’t have to suffer through another dreary Thanksgiving with my ex and thankful that this is the second year I get that particular reprieve (it’s what I imagine being released from prison must feel like). I am thankful I don’t have to serve dinner at 2:00, like his mother did and can eat, instead, at 4:00.
And the added advantage of not having to wake at 5:00 in the morning (when it’s still dark outside, for God’s sake) to get the bird stuffed and in the oven, makes me want to do a little dance. I am thankful not to be subjected to the sound of football on TV, from dawn to dusk, and thankful that I don’t have to cook the meal and clean up afterwards all by my lonesome – my ex never, ever offered to lift a finger to help.
But in the plus column, I am thankful that I managed to navigate the bumpy roads that criss-cross the inhospitable deserts of post-divorce hell quite successfully, and that I am able, once again, to live my life on my own terms.
And I am thankful that the lessons I learned while slogging through it all made me stronger because, let’s face it, what doesn’t kill you tends to have that affect. That I got to keep my house and still have a place to put my table and to hang my hat is almost a miracle. I have my health, my sanity is fairly in-tact, I’m ready to move forward without regret and I find that I’m a little less bitter and angry with the passing of every day. Once again, all seems right with the world which is quite a big relief. And for that, I am truly thankful.