I'm being abandoned for Thanksgiving. My parents' anniversary falls just after the holiday and they've decided to make a weekend of it. I think my mother feels guilty. She announced the news at the family birthday dinner we had the other week. My brother said it was no big deal. They were actually planning a trip to Cape Breton to visit his wife's parents. My sister told her not to feel guilty. After all, she said, we all had families of our own.
Then all eyes drifted over to me in silence.
Right. Well. Almost all of us, anyway.
I told them not to worry; I'd just swing through the drive-thru at Wendy's and pick up some chicken strips. My brother suggested I ask them if they could add a side of gravy like Mom makes. My new brother-in-law thought if I looked really sad, they might throw in a dish of cranberries free of charge. Did I mention I come from a family of comedians?
Anyway, the point of this isn't so much that I mind being abandoned, but that I don't. I keep thinking I should be upset by this. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It doesn't have the pressure or the expectation of Christmas. But there's a part of me that likes the idea of being on my own for a big holiday. It's freeing somehow, like I have shucked off convention and embraced my independence. While everyone else is locked into their plans with little or no wiggle room, I'm free and clear.
No one's expecting anything from me. I don't need to do anything, be anywhere. I can spend the day however I want. And with Friday through Monday off, I have four days of freedom. I've needed a break, and suddenly I have the means to take one. Maybe I'll take a day trip, or go hiking. The leaves are starting to change and the weather looks clear and crisp.
Whatever I decide, I'm really looking forward to it.