My first holiday without the kids, teetering between sadness and aloof. I decided that I would do nothing. In my plan, I needed to lie to everyone so no one actually knew that I was alone.
"I'm going to my Mom's," I told friends.
"I'm going to my friend's," I told my mom.
"I'm going to Patrick's," I told my colleagues.
I just knew that I needed to feel the rawness of this divorce on this holiday. Although Patrick and I get along extremely well, this Thanksgiving did not include plans to co-mingle. I sincerely craved the calm the comes with being alone. Eating Chinese food from a paper box would have suited me just fine.
I was choosing an UnThanksgiving, but little did I know, Thanksgiving would still come, Charlie Brown.
Some of you know of my new friendship with Little Tommy. When my favorite radio show went off the air in August, I emailed the producer. Within 40 seconds, he wrote back. Within and hour, we were on the phone. Within days, I was watching his son skateboard. We've been hanging out ever since. A surprising friend and ally in my life, I decided to hang out with Tommy on Thanksgiving, but just for a little while, I told myself. After all, I wanted to be alone.
He took me to meet his 83 year old mom. If you've ever listened to the show, you know that meeting his mom is bigger than the Oscar's. It was an honor to be invited. However, we were just going to hang out for a little while. Dinner would be served at his sister's house, and surely I would be home, wearing sweatpants, and eating Chinese food by then.
And then, I was greeted warmly by a house full of relatives situated around the most angelic woman you could imagine. Attached to a feeding tube, but sitting strongly with love beaming from within, was Rosa.
[me, Rosa (83), Auntie Ding (94), Tommy]
And that's when it happened. I was at the mercy of the beautiful moment, and I was hanging on tightly. Being a quiet observer of Tommy tenderly lifting his mom into his car, watching he and his sister 'sneak' small bites of mashed potatoes to wet the palette of a woman fed by tube, and being lovingly included in a traditional family meal just about broke my heart. Or healed it.
I wasn't looking for Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving found me.