Well, "the holidays" seem to be upon us. I fight this term and this concept. It is so generic, so bland, and so loaded with commercial pressure.
Thanksgiving is the first. Well, actually some people consider Halloween the first of the season, but I am not going there. I love the spiritual meaning of Thanksgiving. Thanking God for our bounty. How wonderful is that? But, in practice, we all make virtually the same meal, which I don't even like. I don't like cooking it (and there are very few meals I do not enjoy cooking) and I don't really enjoy eating it. I don't particularly like turkey and eat it only once a year. I do like baking pies, and I will make some this year. I owe a couple of pecan pies to an AA friend. I will enjoy making those.
My family is somewhat fractured this year. My son is in Afghanistan. His wife and daughter are going to Nebraska to spend Thanksgiving with her parents. My older granddaughters will be in Montana with my ex-husband, their grandfather. That leaves my two daughters, one of whom will be terribly sad and missing her children. We decided to go to a movie rather than make a traditional dinner and sit around and think about what and who we are missing. I am really looking forward to that.
I have a birthday in mid-december. I think I might have mentioned that I will be 60 this year (every day for the last 6 months maybe?) I am still planning how I want to celebrate that. I think it will be a dinner out with all of my children (who are in the country) and my grandchildren. So I can act the matriarch. I considered having a huge party and when I wrote up the guest list, I just thought - I don't want to do this. So I am not going to.
I have no idea what we are doing for Christmas, but I will try to keep my expectations low and my openness to new ideas high. I do know that I will get to experience the journey of Advent again, and that never ever disappoints.
I cannot make a huge dinner and wish my brothers and sister were closer so that we could share the meal. I cannot fondly remember the gatherings of the past and long for the people who are now deceased. I cannot wish for things that aren't.
I can joyfully experience what is - and not pretend it is something else. And this year I have a new boyfriend and I am interested to see what that will bring.
Many alcoholics get tangled up in all of this stuff. It is so foreign to be experiencing these events sober. We may be hit with all sorts of memories, expectations, heartbreaks, and overwhelming feelings. There are many helpful suggestions based on 70 some years of AA experience. I am not going to go into all of them here... maybe closer to Thanksgiving I will.
But for today, I will just tell you what I am doing. I am going to focus on what is rather than what isn't. I am going to make the best plans to avoid emotional landmines. I plan to enjoy myself and will turn my thoughts to others if I am getting nutty. I am going to trust God that I am exactly where I am supposed to be today and thank him for all that has been given to me and all that has been taken away.
For now, I better plan to get ready for work and give it my best shot today.