Teaching to the Test
Thinking about Sleeping

Thanksgiving 2011

It’s Thanksgiving, but we’re having pizza and beer for dinner. Tomorrow we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving. Do I need to be surrounded by family to prove that I have what to be thankful for? And do I have to serve the requisite main course and sides and desserts (okay, the apple pie is ready for consumption tonight) and conversation-round-the-table about what we’re thankful for to make this a thankful day for me?

My boyfriend/partner is getting the pizzas. It will take him at least an hour at the frozen pizza section in the supermarket to pick out just the right pizzas. Luckily they close early today. On pizza and beer Fridays we always have two frozen pizzas: one veggie and one mucho cheese-o. But he will take his time thinking about which pizzas I would prefer tonight. The decision will be made by him making experienced-based assumptions about my taste buds today, not definites about himself.

It is the two of us, and Poops, everyone else is in absentia.

My older daughter is at college on the other coast. But the ticket cost is not the reason why she won’t be here. No, she’s there celebrating with her boyfriend and friends. And I am thankful and grateful that she has found a place where she is happy and people with whom she finds herself blossoming. I’ll never forget the mother stomach-lump that developed in an instant when her first grade teacher told me that she never smiles in class. And she has always been a solemn child. The curse of the bookworm, perhaps? Her happiness, from whatever distance, is to rejoice in.

And my younger daughter. Well, it’s her fault that we’re having Turkey Day tomorrow and not today. A friend invited her to celebrate Thanksgiving with her family. Maybe they feel sorry for her that we’re divorced and her father is not around and that it’s just Kenny and me here on this family celebration day, or maybe they are thankful that their daughter has such a wonderful friend. I decided that Thanksgiving should be more about her happiness and gratitude to two women and the homes they make and make her feel comfortable in rather than sticking to the calendar (besides, we don’t watch football and we don’t Black Friday shop), so she’s with her friend’s family today and us tomorrow.

And my mother down in retirementland is going to the movies and then for a non-turkey dinner with a couple that doesn’t make her feel like the lonely widow. The holidays really are the hardest for her; there doesn’t seem to be a before and after, just a before, with my father—and the way it should be, not this being alone business.

My brother. A bit of aggravation there just to make sure that the subterranean theme of how families can be dangerous to one’s health is maintained even if Thanksgiving is not; he did not invite us to his family’s Thanksgiving Day repast. Granted, they’re five hours away, but I used to do the drive, even when it took nine hours in only-stop traffic. That is until I decided one year that I’ll wait for my invitation rather than invite myself. So here I sit, at home and not in Thanksgiving Day traffic since the invite never came.

Thanksgiving. Yes, I’m thankful that the people in my life seem happy and well-adjusted and purposeful. And me, I’m happy that I’m not stressed about cooking, because what kind of pressure can I have doing it a day late?

And I’m also thankful that at 50 (or 49 twice in a row) I feel healthy, I feel wise, I feel pretty, and I feel.

Happiness and Thanks to You All!



Sounds like a great way to spend the weekend! So happy for you and your daughters!


It was lovely, at least parts of it, thanks April. It's hard to have four days at home without some ruffles unfeathering. There's always life in life.

I hope you and your daughters had a lovely Thanksgiving as well.


Hey there I am browsing thrught your posts as I se e more I feel I want to add comments:) My kids are 9 and 5 and I would really love for them to have their own joys. I think seeing them joyful would make me so happy. Right now my older one has behavioural issues at school, not many friends, several discipline issues...list goes on. So I am very sad for him and waiting for things to get better for him. My younger one is too serious for her good I feel...too adult-like and I am waiting for her to relax, spread her wings....

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Rina, raising children is so very hard. My insight as a mother and a teacher is that you can do your best but more than that you cannot do.

Regarding your older child, you can see if there is a reason for the behavioral issues; I'm not sure what services are available where you live, but there seems to often be reasons for kids acting up--they generally don't do it because they want to. It's actually not fun to be picked on and not to be doing well in class.

My older daughter was serious when she was little and she's serious now at 21. It is the way she is, but that does not mean that she is not happy. She just has always been self-directed, as she still is.

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