MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time ever, I mean ever, my house was too quiet.
It was Thanksgiving, I just got home from filling in for John Hines on his show and I was baking pecan pies and getting ready for dinner. I usually like the quiet. With three young kids, quiet is a rare and coveted commodity. But not that day, it was too quiet.
My children were with their father on this first Thanksgiving that we were officially divorced, and it was too quiet. I didn’t like it. I kept reminding myself to be grateful, give thanks, all the stuff you’re supposed to do, but I was on the edge. We did a segment on the show that day about “Empty Chairs.” It was to honor any loved ones you lost this year and remember them at your holiday dinner. I empathized with the callers and texters about dead relatives and passed on pets.
I didn’t count myself among those who’ve suffered a great loss (other than my marriage). My children are healthy, well and probably full of turkey and glee as they made gingerbread houses at my ex’s-girlfriend’s-mother’s house. But for me, there, alone, it was too quiet.
How did this happen? Holidays are supposed to be about family, so where was mine? I’m not angry anymore, just sad. I didn’t want that kind of quiet. I wanted a house full of kids and family and noise. And yes, I know you don’t always get what you want. So I took a shot of the bourbon that was supposed to go in the pie and tried to bail on Thanksgiving. I just needed to wallow in the quiet.
And here’s where the story takes a real turn for the worse. The man who invited me to dinner with his family came over and dragged my butt out of bed and essentially forced me to go. Huge mistake. Not because he’s a bad person, he’s a great guy and was doing what he though was best. But sometimes emotions get the best of me. I tried, I really did, but I ended up in the bathroom, crying, calling my sister and friends who tried to talk me off my ledge. I just could not pull it together.
It was awful, for me, for them, for him, for his mom who spent a fortune on a Kosher turkey just for me, for my giant ego, just awful. I never ate, I made him take me home, ruined his night and just humiliated myself. Good times.
So what did I learn? A) Holidays post-divorce suck and no matter how well you think you’re doing. They can still hit you like a 22-pound frozen turkey; B) It’s ok to be alone on Thanksgiving, especially if it’s to avoid being the butt of another family’s “Worst-Thanksgiving- Guest-Ever” story for years to come; C) I am the “Worst-Thanksgiving-Guest-Ever” (But the pecan pie was a big hit… so I hear.); D) Next year will be easier. (I hope).
This holiday season I wish you peace, health, happiness, success and noise, lots of noise.