The 40-Year Itch
Melissa Taylor pens the Class Notes blog on Parenting.com.
The air popcorn popper whirs, producing another large bowl of white kernels. At the kitchen counter, my 6- and 9-year-old daughters sort brown paper bags in various sizes. My husband reads us Thanksgiving trivia from the iPad. Before today, my favorite Thanksgiving was spent alone in bed with a 102°F fever.
Why do we subject ourselves to dysfunctional holidays with relatives? Why did I tolerate the hissed quips from my sister and mom? Obligation and guilt, I suppose. When I turned 40 last year, I realized I could spend the next 40 years dreading the holidays, or start something new: spending the day alone, just us.
I help the girls stuff a large brown bag with popcorn, closing it with a clothespin. We fill two lunch bags with more popcorn, close them with rubber bands, and tape them to each side of the large bag. Drumsticks!
We set our “turkey” in the middle of the table, surrounded by glasses of milk and goblets of sparkling juice.
Forty years. That's enough to make anything feel like a tradition. But this year, I believe ours will start to feel like one, too.
The next day, I found a gigantic teddy bear at Marshall's. I drove him home feeling lucky because I know one day her wishes will extend beyond my reach. They will grow as she does—deeper, and more meaningful.