Holidays are my favorite time of year. I love a good party, a good theme, good food, and most of all . . . I love family. My vision for my life was one of family dinners surrounded by the ones I love: my handsome husband and my rambunctious children. Beautiful chaos.
Fast forward to my current state of reality. These days, I get to enjoy that beautiful chaos (minus the husband) every other holiday. The next eighteen years of holidays have been solidified into a court-mandated schedule. One year off, one year on.
This is my first year “off.” I will be celebrating Thanksgiving all by my lonesome, while my daughter will be celebrating with her father. For some reason, this reality struck me in June. I will be alone for the holiday. Cue the emotional breakdown. I was grief-stricken; heartbroken all over again, devastated, depressed, and distraught. I wanted to scream and cry. The rest of my family is scattered throughout different cities and the one person who I want to be with, my incredible child with a beautiful heart, will be gone.
Poor, sad, Candice. I threw myself a pity party and complained in a buzzed stupor to anyone who would listen. The invitations came rolling in. While I appreciate the well-intentioned friends and family offering to feed me, I know that if I can’t be with the one I want to be with, I really don’t want to be with anyone.
Then another thought hit me and I got a bit excited . . . Zingerman’s caters Thanksgiving. Even for one person. I don’t have to cook. I don’t have to clean. I don’t have to share stuffing with anyone. I can have a mini pecan pie, all by myself. I can buy a new outfit and go to church, all by myself. I can splurge on a bottle of Duckhorn and enjoy it, all by myself. I will light pumpkin spice and vanilla candles all around until it smells like I spent the weekend baking. I will Christmas shop from my couch. I will dig out the Elf on the Shelf and Christmas decorations.
But most of all . . . I will GIVE THANKS.
To all of the friends and family who have supported me through the past two hellish years; for surprising me with gift cards, dinners, wine; for loving me when I felt I was at my absolute worst. And on Saturday morning? I will pick up my greatest gift and blessing. And together we will cook and bake and craft and slip into our Christmas pajamas early. We will decorate our tree and we will celebrate our own Thanksgiving. Our love and thanks and joy are not dictated by a silly calendar, they are alive every single day. And since our time together is split, I make sure that we show love, thanks, and joy any chance we can.