This has been a strange Thanksgiving. I have spent the majority of my 50 years going to my grandmother’s for lunch and this year we went to the beach with my ex-husband’s family instead. It will be the first Thanksgiving we, my kids and I, have spent without my ex or my grandmother here on earth with us.
Years ago, his family began the tradition of going to the beach and renting condos near each other so the whole family could be together, spend time in a big circle talking on the beach, and getting together to watch the big rivalry game on Saturday. Two of my 3 kids and I joined them this year for the first time. (One kid works retail and could not get off work, of course. But, don’t worry, he had dinner with my parents and his cousin!) It was good for my kids to be with his family and it was good for me to remember they still think of me as family too.
I did not get the dream of a cohesive, healthy family from beginning to end. Instead, I have gotten 10 years of potential, 14 years of alcoholism, and 3 years of divorced with kids. And, yet, I wouldn’t trade it. I am thankful for the time with my ex, the time we had that was good, our children, and the things about life that he taught the kids on purpose or inadvertantly. I am also thankful for the lessons he taught me about life, about addiction, about love. This Thanksgiving I took a moment, staring out at the gulf, and I remembered the good and wonderful parts of this man I spent such a humongous chunk of my life with. I feel like I have been letting him go for decades. I guess I have. As toxic and horrible as the alcoholism was for all of us, I choose now to remember the best of him, not the worst. He was a good man. I have many, many blessings to be thankful for and this Thanksgiving I am thankful for him and for his family who continue to embrace me as their own.