Did you whine over your wine at Thanksgiving?

Dear friends,

Last week, I advised you to reach out to other people to survive Thanksgiving. Offer an extra set of hands, I said. Talk to the teens and old people, I said. Do the dishes, I said. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, I said.

Easier said than done, isn’t it? I found myself wanting to weep over my turkey at one point. My father and I spent the holiday at my brother’s house with his in-laws. Everybody seemed to be obsessed with their children and grandchildren, except my niece, who is treating her dog as her child. I looked around and saw no one I could relate to except the three dogs that were there. I missed my husband. I missed my mother. I felt alone in the crowd.

Oh, yes, I admit it. I felt sorry for myself, even though I knew I was not the only widow in the room. My sister-in-law’s cousin lost her husband right after Christmas last year. The last family event he attended was Thanksgiving at my brother’s house. She had a lot more right to feel sorry for herself than I did. But all day, I watched her holding one of her four young grandchildren  and thought, wow, she’s surrounded by family, and I’ve got  a brother and father who are busy arguing finance with the other men while the football game plays on the big-screen TV.

At one point, I went outside where the big dogs were corralled. “Guys, I have nobody to talk to,” I whined. They replied, “Did you bring us any turkey? Can you let us out to play?”

Eventually, things got better. I talked to a young man who was the son of a cousin I had not met before. He’s newly in love, very happy in his life in California. And he actually asked me about my life and work. I made a new friend and it felt good. I talked with my sister-in-law’s aunt and uncle. I snuggled with my niece’s “chi-weiner” dog, who does indeed feel like a baby, especially wrapped in her pink “hoodie.”

I survived the hard moment. The baby got on a crying jag, the older kids got cranky and rude, and I was fine with them not being mine. I didn’t find out until the next day that the mother/grandmother/new widow was never able to have children of her own. She has one stepson who feels like her own, and the other three were foster kids whom she adopted. Some of those kids have had very troubled lives. It was not at all the fairy tale story I thought it was. She worked hard to get those kids, and she also has worked hard to build a successful career. And now when her kids go off to their own homes, she’s as alone as I am. Something to think about.

The day before Thanksgiving, I met my cousin’s one-year-old daughter, who is adorable. I think she decided she liked me. Interacting with her was fun. The house looked like a bomb exploded in it, and the child, who recently learned to walk, was constantly having to be chased and captured. Did I long to have a child just like her? I did. But then I looked at my other cousin’s hulking, sullen teenagers and thought . . . maybe it’s okay.

The day after Thanksgiving, my nephew arrived at my brother’s house with his pregnant fiancée and her two daughters, plus another dog. It was loud and chaotic. Dogs barking, multiple conversations, little girls needing attention. My father and I were both glad to get away from the commotion to the peace and quiet of his all-adult, no-dog house, where we could share tea and pastries and talk trash about everybody else.

One more note from my Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law’s uncle thinks I’m my 93-year-old father’s sister. I could not convince him otherwise. How’s that for an ego boost? Last Thanksgiving, a waitress at my brother’s favorite restaurant thought I was Dad’s wife. Either Dad looks very young for his age—he does—or . . . never mind.

I got propositioned online last night by a man who told me I was beautiful. I think it was a robo-email, not written by an actual person, but it’s nice to hear. He was very handsome. He said he didn’t have any kids. What’s the story behind that?

So that’s how it went for me. How did Thanksgiving go for you? Please tell us in the comments. We can all whine together here, then figure out how to grow up and get past it.


8 thoughts on “Did you whine over your wine at Thanksgiving?

  1. Hi! We usually go over to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving, but this year we went to my nephew’s new in-laws’ house. It wasn’t the usual crowd we have. Several members were missing. We dined with a couple, a family friend of my nephew’s in-laws, who have two children who were diagnosed very early with a terrible debilitating disease. They are both in wheelchairs, though only in their early 20s. My husband’s young cousin was visiting us from out of state, so she also joined us. We had a nice time. My childless status did not factor in. I wish that we could all be more objective about our lives and those of others and understand with greater ease that for most, life isn’t always rosy and perhaps that we could feel more grateful. It is hard. It can sometimes feel very natural to feel sorry for ourselves. Anyway,. I wish you the best, much happiness, and who knows, maybe a new love for Christmas?!


  2. I really wanted to comment on your previous post, but honestly was too depressed to. Really having a hard time this holiday, for several reasons:
    1). In one phone call, my job I love turned to a job I no longer want and will be giving notice tomorrow. I’m walking away from a $75,000 a year job. Eek. And have nothing to go to. What am I thinking????? I just need to keep reminding myself money isn’t everything. Right???? Please tell me I’m right!!!
    2). First holiday with my mom gone. Not that we spent the holidays together because we live 2,000 miles apart, but still very sad that this was her first holiday that she missed and she loved the holidays.
    3). My husband’s degenerative brain disease seems to have worsened a bit. I am flying him to UCLA to see a specialist there. However February is their first open appointment.
    4). We have decided to move from our three-acre piece of paradise in Hawaii to Colorado where today was only 25 degrees. We have no family here, and I am thinking I will soon need some help with my husband. Plus I’m lonely. I miss my family so much . But the thought of leaving here is breaking my heart.

    I realize my post was very whinny. So sorry!!! Just having a very emotional day.


    • Oh Candy, everything seems to be falling apart at once. The mom, the husband, the job, Hawaii . . . yikes. You have reason to whine. Why are you moving to Colorado? Work? Is there any way you can hold on at the job until you find something better? I wish I could bring your mother back and make your husband well. Heck, I wish I could bring my own mother back and my husband, too, but until those miracles happen, we have to keep going one day or one hour at a time. You are in my prayers.


      • Colorado is where my sisters and their families live, so I will be close to them. First time living near my family in almost 27 years. Am looking forward to that. There is work to be done on the house to sell it. We met with a real estate lady yesterday and she gave us her recommendations. Seeing as my husband is unable to help with the majority of it, I will be doing it all. And I just don’t believe the weekends will be enough. Plus my job requires traveling and I’m not very comfortable leaving my husband home alone anymore. He fell again during my last trip away and hurt his wrist. I just don’t want to risk anything worse. A year ago, he fell and broke his ankle. He developed a small sore under his cast because he kept walking on it. We had the cast taken off and the sore cleaned. I flew out Monday morning for work and when I came home Friday night he had a full blown staph infection and ended up in the hospital for five days. Doctor said he came within one week of having his foot amputated. He never thought his foot was all that bad, so never mentioned it to me while I was away. All a part of his cognition issues.

        When talking about moving and being closer to my family last week, he apologized to me for not giving me a family. I know he meant well, but it just pissed me off. I chose just to keep my mouth shut and didn’t comment. But all I could think was “Well, it’s a little to late for apologies.” That was the G version. The real version had a few more four letter words to it. 🙂 I am angry that I am all alone in taking care of him. His deadbeat, drug-using son is of no help. He moved away when I told him he could no longer live with us. He couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t pay towards his utilities, but always had money for cigarettes and drugs. So instead of cleaning up and stepping up to the plate, he moved away. Gee thanks!!!! Still working on getting over that resentment. May take some time.

        About 14 years ago, my husband did give in and said we could have a child and I decided on artificial insemination, went to the doctor and started tracking my temperature. I was so overjoyed, but the more we talked about it, the more I realized he only said that to make me happy, but it was nothing that he wanted and I could see him regretting what he had said. Then the company I was working for shut down and I lost my job. So, it just seemed the most logical to no longer pursue that dream. Now I wonder where I would be right now if I had a 14-year-old and a handicapped husband. I imagine in probably worse shape than I am now. The stress I feel now, I don’t think would come close to everything I’m going through plus having a teenager with raging hormones. I do believe God saw this all coming and things happen for a reason.

        I appreciate the prayers, Sue. I believe in them, thank you!!!!!


      • I can identify with a lot of what you say. I had to give up a lot of business travel right at a time when I should have been doing more not less because I couldn’t leave my husband alone anymore. I’m glad you’ll be with your family. That will surely help as you go through this tough time. My husband also relented on the baby issue much too late. Hang in there. You’ve got a friend in Oregon.


  3. Thanksgiving was fine for my husband and me. We went out for dinner, just the two of us since I had to work on Black Friday, and we live too far away from family to just stop by for a day.

    We just got home from visiting family for a late Thanksgiving. Right before leaving, my mother-in-law mentioned that my husband’s cousin is pregnant with #3. I tried to tell myself not to get upset, because I feel like I have done so well lately with not being depressed about it. Now I can’t get it out of my head. Does it ever get any easier when you hear news about other people being pregnant or having babies?

    Candy- I am in a similar boat. My husband said yes to make me happy, then changed his mind because he was getting stressed out over saying yes to trying. We’d probably have a 3-year-old right now.

    I keep telling myself that I’m over it, but it’s obvious I’m not.


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