|Bisbee wall mural inspiration|
In the sticky month of July I called Mr. Scabs mother and announced that I would bring the kids for Thanksgiving! I love their house, full of love and fun and cousins and baked things. But most of all, I have fallen in love Mr. Scabs family, who over the years has come to feel like my very own blood. We've held hands through this trauma which rocked all our worlds. Salt of the earth.
The last few years, Thanksgiving has held some kind of hostage over me. Shadows of D-day and nightmares and painful wedding anniversaries and paralyzed legs, ya know, just the usual holiday anxiety.
Some years Thanksgiving floated by without so much as an anxious flutter of my heart. Other years it passed by as heavily and thickly as any terrible trauma does. Other times I've felt a simple sense of honor and peace for these experiences. Ahhh Thanksgiving...you are my achilles heal.
10 hours before our flights engine roared and took to the November sky, I called his family and tearfully explained that I couldn't do it this year. We all cried. It's painful for everyone, but they understand. And, the sickness I felt in my gut lifted the moment I decided to stay. While we ate breakfast, I explained to my kids that they were about to have the greatest vacation with Dad at Grandma's house and that I was so excited for them to go and have fun! I told them I couldn't wait to hear all about it (attitude is everything when explaining these difficult things to kids)! They got excited and that made me happy.
Mr. Scabs said it wasn't fair and that he is so sorry. More than once he offered to stay home and let me go, but my heart knew I needed to stay.
And so, I balked all tradition and put Mr. Scabs and the kids on a plane.
Thank the powers that be for Airbnb! My search found the most adorable last minute "tiny" bungalow for rent in the little hippy town of Bisbee, AZ. I spent the next day maxing out my house, mopping floors, doing all the laundry, making pet arrangements, baking a ham and rolls and a big fat pumpkin pie. It was kinda fun cooking for my solo Thanksgiving dinner. That night my head hit the pillow and I slept.
Word must have spread around the neighborhood about my tradition balking because the pies started flooding in. My neighbors are so kind and I had a million invitations to join their meals. Some expressions clearly couldn't understand why I'd choose to be alone much less alone on Thanksgiving. Others wished they could join me.
I gathered all my pies, my yoga mat and my books and began my roadtrip.
At the gas station I met an older man dressed in a plaid shirt and cuffed jeans with a wooden cross hanging from his neck. He was filling the tank of his dark red VW bus. I looked over with envy. The only thing missing from this trip was a bus. We talked for a minute, he blessed my trip and I blessed his. We said our goodbyes over our insanely gigantic road trip style cokes.
This year my non-traditional Thanksgiving included, used book stores, eating pumpkin pie in my bed, yoga on the third floor of a Odd Fellows lodge built in 1910, a ghost story tour, reading and praying and being and eating the yummiest corned beef hash from the Breakfast Club.
Later today, I'll pack up the "tiny" bungalow and fill my non-VW bus with gas and drive north. I'll pass through some pretty fascinating Arizona history and probably stop at all the historical markers because that's what I like to do.
Many of us ask, how can we pass through the difficult days, memories and family traditions? How do we walk through holidays that may now hold a different meaning?
This is what I learned: No matter what plans I made in the sticky months of summer, my new tradition is to honor my gut feelings and follow my instincts, always.