Not yet. I haven’t lost my mind just yet. I’m still perfectly aware of the fact that the customary symbolic bird for the American Thanksgiving holiday is a turkey.
But mine’s an owl.
It’s my son’s favorite. Or at least I think it is. Sometimes I wonder if he just patronizes me – when every Christmas I buy him a new and unique owl tree ornament – believing that if he doesn’t he’ll hurt my feelings because I enjoy them so much.
I don’t get to see my son for Thanksgiving. I won’t get to spend time with him for Christmas.
I’m not entirely sure when I’ll get to be with him again. It’s been almost a year since I’ve had him with me.
I’ve never enjoyed the holidays; in fact, I’ve detested them and avoided them as much as I’ve been able to. Having my kid with me has sufficiently distracted me from the time of year it actually is: that seasonal deluge of ringing bells and gift ideas streamed endlessly into our psyches and blinking and twinkling and colorful lights on the roofs and doorways of warmly lit suburban houses.
The stress of choosing the politically correct gift for the boss, the financial household budgets that are blown to shreds and the sinking realization that days on end have to be wasted on enduring blow-hard uncles and fussing aunts and drunken cousins – only to be repeated in less than one month’s time – are all pressures that I gladly do without.
I spend a great deal of my holidays wondering what it would be like to actually enjoy a Thanksgiving or a Christmas with no one fighting or yelling or blaming or sniping – just talking and laughing and eating and making meals together.
And it makes me sad that I’ll never know what it truly feels like to look forward to the occasion; I’ll never understand why all of a sudden on one day out of 365 I’m supposed to drop everything else and “count my blessings”.
I do that every day. At least I try to. It’s been on the verge of impossible for entirely too long as I watch everything I believed I had been blessed with; everything I’ve accomplished and built in my life light up in flames and fall to withering ashes at my feet.
There will be little time to consider some stupid commercial and family holiday around me when the only thing that plagues me is wondering when – not if – I’ll be wandering through a snowbank in a few weeks’ time.
Merry fucking ho ho ho.
I’d like to work. I’d like to be productive. I’d like to not lose my home. I’d love to have a bottle of wine for Thanksgiving dinner.
I’d love to have a Thanksgiving dinner, for that matter.
I’d like for my book to be a number one best-seller, NYT blockbuster…I’d like it to mean something to someone who makes the effort to read it from cover to cover and not those who promise to buy it but never do, and not those who do buy it and allow it to collect dust on their nightstand.
I’d love to have someone to gift my book at Christmas time.
If I had any number of those things, I’d be thankful.
I’d like all of you reading this to truly TRULY honestly, from the depths of your soul take the time to watch your child shove that last bite of pumpkin pie into their face at the table.
To listen to the laughter of your grandmother as she recalls a long-since-passed memory.
Leave your phone at home. Ignore social media for two days.
Savor the taste of a succulent roasted turkey. Breathe in the crisp fall air when it takes away your breath.
Allow me to live vicariously through your ugly sweater stories and drudgeries…and smile for me.
Grin to yourself if you see any owl ornament in the window of a shop you pass as you rush to buy that last minute gift.
I bet my son would love it.