Hershey kisses in the middle of them and everyone had to eat one and say what they were thankful for that year. One family had a treasure hunt. One family played a basketball game before dinner and the list goes on and on. I never got to enjoy these things as tradition because I was always the new person. I was always unknown. I was always just a guest. I was never part of the family. I spent every thanksgiving as an outsider. I observed. I sat quietly and watched families enjoy the time they had together and studied them. I would watch my foster family interact with each other--everyone grazing on appetizers, hanging out and enjoying each others company. This is what family is, I thought. I want this. I want to be part of this. Will I be here next year? Will they be my family next year? Do they remember my name?
Thanksgiving is a day that reminds me that I've never had that kind of connection. It reminds me of what I'm missing. It reminds me that I don't have family. It reminds me of all the Thanksgivings I cried myself to sleep overcome with desire for family, stability and tradition. It reminds me of how different I am from the average American. It reminds me of how undeserving I am of family.
While I have somewhere to go this year, that wasn't always the case. After I aged out, I always spent Thanksgiving by myself but not by choice. When I lived in the dorms in college, the entire dorm would shut down for the weekend. I would be the only person in the entire building. I would run up and down the hallways, check out all the laundry rooms, and lounges on each floor. From my room on the 12th floor I could see a family sitting down to their Thanksgiving dinner. I watched them for a little while and made up conversations I thought they might be having. One year I lived with my now ex girlfriend in a dorm room. When Thanksgiving came, she went home and I was all alone in an empty building again. She couldn't take me home with her because her parents were against gay relationships. I know her family is more important than I am/was, but it still hurt.
I don't mean for this entry to be so negative. I want to like Thanksgiving. I really do. I want to enjoy this special family centric day despite it's controversial background. I am thankful for a lot of things in my life now. I am grateful for having somewhere to go this Thanksgiving. I am thankful that I will know most of the people at dinner this year. I am thankful that I love the people that will be around that table. I am thankful that those people are in my life. I'm thankful that no matter how alone I feel, I'm really not. I am thankful that I have people in my life today. I am thankful for that little boy that shares my DNA. I cannot imagine my life without him or his parents. I am thankful that they are still in my life after everything that happened. I am thankful they didn't drop me when things got hard like I expected them to. I am thankful that they didn't even have to invite me to dinner this year. It was just expected that I would come. I've never had that before. I've never had a home for Thanksgiving. I am thankful that I have a home and a job. I am thankful that I am healthy and relatively sane. I am thankful I don't have schizophrenia. I am thankful that I have access to health care and therapy. I am thankful that I have a great girlfriend who loves me very much even if she can't read my blog or hear my life story because it upsets her too much. I am thankful that my childhood is over and I am thankful that I am an adult. I'm thankful for pecan pie.
I truly am thankful for all these things. How do I get myself to focus on the good things in my life today and not the pain? I want to find a way to make the darkness and memories to go away. I want to just forget all these things and enjoy the holiday. I want to be excited for holidays and not dread them. I hate this time of year but I want to love it. I want to feel festive and excited and happy.