It’s officially acceptable to say things like “tis’ the season” and “happy holidays” – I thought I was going to despise it all because of what’s going on in my life, but I have been pleasantly surprised by my overall emotional state. A lot has happened this week and it has reminded me of all of the amazing things I have to be thankful for. There have been so many times in the last few months that I have felt like my world was falling apart, but this week, I feel like a change is beginning; I feel like I’m finally stepping out of the darkness.
“Friends are the family you choose”
For the last 3 years, I have spent Thanksgiving with my family or his. So, as the holiday approached this year, I couldn’t help but be sad. I genuinely miss those moments I was able to spend with his mom and his grandmother as well as the ones he was able to share with my amazing family. But, once again, I knew I had a choice between staying sad or finding happy. I had always heard about people doing “Friendsgiving” and I thought it would be a perfect new tradition to start. It was so much fun! We sat around talking and laughing, drinking too muchall of the red wine. We shared jokes and stories and even some tears later in to the night – but happy tears; thankful tears. And instead of going home on Thanksgiving, my best friend invited me to share it with her family and I can’t even explain how it felt to be a part of another person’s traditions.
The cloudiness from the wine the night before instantly wore off when her six year old screamed “Nicki” as he ran up and hugged me tight. And every family member that showed up after hugged me just like that, as if I was one of their own. The warmth in my heart yesterday was more than I have felt in a while. I am so grateful to them for allowing me to sit at the dinner table to eat and share laughs; to create memories and experience true happiness on a holiday I was sure was going to be miserable. It was exactly what I needed. When the time came, I said my goodbyes and drove home in silence, as I tend to do when a lot is on my mind.
Once I was home and changed in to my pajamas, I sat down on the couch and I cried. This time, the tears were a combination of gratefulness to my friend and her family and sadness because I was missing the traditions he and I shared over the last few years. I think it’s normal for me to burst out in random crying here and there [or at least I tell myself it is] because, especially during this time of the year, it just feels like something is missing. His family, his friends, his jokes, all of it – it was all a huge part of me. But I guess it’s all about balance, right? You submerge yourself in the new experiences with your friends and their families but you also take time to remember and appreciate what life used to be like. As painful as it is, I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to pretend like it’s easy to move on.
But I think that’s how I know that things are beginning to change – I want to remember all of the good things while trying to move on. Before, I did everything I could to block out the memories. Honestly, that’s not possible. The mind is a crazy, overwhelming place and somehow, we all have to figure out how to balance the millions of thoughts that go on in there everyday. And when possible, we also have to figure out how to choose happy, whether that be memories, experiences, or people [or all of the above]. Here’s to finding and choosing the happy for the rest of this holiday season and all of the seasons to come.