I had an amazing Thanksgiving with my relatives in CT. There was a moment at the dinner table when my Uncle was making a toast and got choked up. He raised his glass and said, “Thanksgiving is all about family…" that was all he could get out before the tears started coming and all of us exchanged that loving glance that said we know and we feel it too. I looked around the table and part of me felt like I was in a soap opera, and the other part of me felt damn lucky to be a Burke and to have a seat at this family celebration.
Another part of me longed for my two oldest girls who were spending the holiday with their father. We rotate holidays and this Thanksgiving was his. It seems that many of my best memories are only 1/2 enjoyed when 1/2 of my children are missing. I watched Rain and Shaya run around with their cousins, playing, laughing, and piling in a laundry basket for hours….it was a joy for all to witness and I wished my older girls were with us. It's funny how hard we try to entertain our children, and on this day, the highlight was a simple plastic basket that occupied them for hours, go figure! I wondered if my other kids were enjoying a delicious slice of pumpkin pie too. My favorite. I was sure that Spider Man did not invade their father's Thanksgiving dinner. Compliments of baby Shaya.
Then we watched the Taylor Swift special on TV and while I was listening to her song "Back in December," I started thinking of my life back when I wasn't raising a blended family and there were no shared holidays. Then I thought of my "not guilty" chapter that I wrote in my book. I talk about the challenges of learning and growing from change, and moving on from the debilitating emotion of guilt. Easier said than done, but I have lived it and I share it all in "The Naked Mom." I thought of the long period of time that I beat myself up for decisions made and times missed. Then I reminded myself of how important it is to look at what we have to be thankful for, not only on this Thanksgiving, but every day. I called my big girls, and realized I was missing them much more than they were me. They were enjoying their own celebration, and yes my daughter was having a second helping of our favorite pie. As much as I missed them, I basked in the love I felt with Shaya sleeping in my arms and Rain snuggled close. I looked to David who I know is the man I belong with and I felt very blessed.
It's too easy to want for more than what we have at certain moments. So many of us feel incomplete during the holidays; especially the ones who have a broken family. I feel it too but I try to look at it differently. My family isn't broken; it's blended, with many things….. I miss my girls today, but I'll make up for it next week. I get used to it but there are always moments when I wish I didn't have to share, if you have joint custody, then I know you speak my language. The bright side is our kids get two families, and it's better to focus on that. This Thanksgiving I am thinking of all the positive things in my life, there are many and I am so grateful. I wish you and yours the very best.
Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving.