I figured I would hold off on my next “intense” post and keep chipper. Well maybe not chipper, maybe less intense? Maybe half the calories in this post than, usual? My brain is musing so I will need to write a little bit about what I am feeling so I can move on. I am feeling much less anxious this year at the start of the holidays. My heart does not feel as trampled upon as in years past, as. Today I looked out the window and had flashes of my dad, step mom, and my sisters all spending Thanksgiving together and I did not feel the usual hurt. I felt fine, but the lingering feeling of being left out and kind of sad struck me. I told David and expressed my confusion because Thanksgiving was never a big holiday time with my dad.
I did not spend much time with that side of the family during Thanksgiving, so I could not understand my connection to feeling left out.
In addition, I am not being left out. Our family is welcome to come, but there is no way that we can make road trips. They live three and half hours away. Daniel still cannot handle being in the car for long periods of time and both Ariel and Joshua get car sick easily; so it is not an option. David shared his thoughts that possibly it was because Thanksgiving is so focused on family and since, I have this feeling of disconnect and not belonging that I may feel this sense of being left out. I am sure that plays into my feelings. I am happy with our tradition of staying home and spending time with the kids. Honestly, I am not a big fan of many holiday foods. I find many of the smells repulsive. Food makes me uncomfortable and the whole idea of sitting around eating with family and friends makes me want to burst into tears. I cannot even sit at the kitchen table with David and the kids. I hate being around people when I eat, HATE it!
Sorry, little tangent.
I make my version of a Thanksgiving dinner – David only requests stuffing and some sort of dessert that brings him the nostalgic feeling from his childhood. I have done my best to create that with my tasty gluten-free deliciousness … it has taken a couple of years to get them to be tasty. Food science rules! This year is going to be a little different. In the past, I have been so exhausted, mentally drained, and/or overwhelmed with emotions, PTSD connected to the holidays, and from Daniel being overwhelmed from the beginning of October to November until around February that I have taken days like Thanksgiving and completely shut down. I would make all the food, take every ounce of my energy to get the tree up then, I would go tuck myself away onto the computer trying to escape or work through all of the jumbled thoughts vexing me.
I do not feel that way this year.
Daniel has not been in his nonstop fall/winter overwhelmed mode this year. I am having a few flashes of the past, but I am not reliving trauma as I have done. I have found tears suddenly flow and pain in my heart, but I have also found healing from embracing those emotions and not ruminating over them. Tomorrow, I hope to spend much of the day cooking (I love to cook), hanging out with the kids and watching goofy movies, putting up our new tree that already has lights SO I DO NOT have to put them on, (bane of my existence, Christmas lights Aaaaggggg!) and enjoying myself. That would include limiting my social media exposure on my personal fb page. When I see pictures of my family being happy, loving on each other, sharing their pictures together it feeds into feelings of not belonging.
It can also, fuel social confusion because many times how they treat and talk to or about each other does not match how much love they are showing in their pictures.
I do not mind that I am not there. I am happy for them to spend that time together – it does bring me joy to see them happy. However, it hurts too because it is connected to so many holidays that I have felt lonely. The reality is that I feel lonely when I am with them too. I may even feel lonelier at times because it makes me so aware of how much they do not know me and I do not know them. It makes me lonely because when I share my thoughts I feel like a foreigner speaking a different language with those I am connected to genetically. Then, again I do enjoy watching them, listening to them, appreciating their uniqueness, and analyzing family dynamics. I do, they make me smile and I am intrigued by who they are – I guess sometimes I feel so alone because no one else seems to share those same thoughts.
Enough of all that!
I am excited about tomorrow and I think it will be one of our best Thanksgivings. I am thankful that Daniel is feeling so much better this year. He has had a few days that have been rough, but nothing like the past years. It makes my heart sing when he is a happy fella. All the kids are struggling to get school done; they are too excited and anxious. I give them props for pushing through and working so hard when they want so much to quit. We all need a couple of days away from school. I have not told them yet, but on Saturday we are going to our little cousin’s birthday party. We have not been to a birthday party since, my nephew’s several years ago.
It went ok, but when we got home that was another story.
I think this time it will be different and I believe Daniel is going to have a great time. I cannot tell him yet because it will turn from excitement to terrible anxiety. I will print out the map of where we are going, show him pictures of them and their house, prepare cupcakes for him to eat, and give him the schedule of the party to help ease some of the anxiety and excitement. Thankfully, it is only two hours the little guy is turning one year old so he will max out by then too. There will be familiar family members and a safe environment so I have hope that it is going to be a positive experience all around.
I know I shared some of the negative emotions that linger for me, but there have been many positives this fall.
I confess, it feels good to be invited to a family event where I do not have any negative associations. I only recently started to have more contact with this cousin and it has been all positive. I feel no “weirdness” like judgment or that underlining “this is making me uncomfortable” feeling from her when I talk about Daniel or when she is around him – that feels really good. I am kind of excited too because David is coming. For the longest time, he has been checked out when it comes to family events. He stayed home while the kids and I did things. It is nice to have him come and participate in these things. There have been a lot of changes going on in our lives for the better.
I cannot believe I am going to say this, but this year I am thankful for change. WHAT??