Thanksgiving Day 1986 was a big deal for me. I had just turned 13, and I remember coming bounding down the stairs to tell my parents that I was ready to go. My dad looked at me and asked if I was missing something. I don’t remember what the outfit was, but I’m sure I gave myself the once over, thought I was rocking a, like, totally tubular 80s style, and told him that I was all set. When he shook his head, I asked what I was missing. “Your makeup?” he asked. REEEALLY!?! I shouted over my shoulder as I ran back upstairs to raid my mom’s supply. It was something that I had been bugging them about for months (if not longer). And something that I hadn’t prepared for because I was too much of a goody-goody to try and sneak makeup behind their backs.
I remember going to my cousin’s house that day (it was back when Thanksgiving was a huge celebration filled with tons of extended family) and asking everyone if they noticed anything different about me. I think the man on the moon probably saw my makeup that day. It’s true, I didn’t know how to apply it back then. In fact, an old friend of mine’s Mom, to this day when I bump into her, will laugh about how I looked like a clown in those early days. But I didn’t care. I finally got to wear makeup and all was right in the world.
I eventually learned how to apply my makeup properly…or at least in a way where I don’t look like a clown. But these days, I feel once again like that makeup novice, without a clue as to what I’m doing. Only this time, practice, trials and tribulations aren’t teaching me and getting me to the right place. Although I guess that’s not entirely true. I suppose going through so many miscarriages and losses has taught Double A and me that we need to take care of ourselves first. That it’s OK to put our needs first, and to not worry about what others want or may think.
I long for the days were life was simpler. But here I sit, some 26 years later, when all is not right with our world. This Thanksgiving has had a much different look and feel. Today we have chosen to protect ourselves. To not get together at the big family gathering for our favorite holiday. To not have to deal with the looks, the questions or the silence. And to not be surrounded by the little ones whom we love, yet serve as painful reminders of who, and what we’re missing. There will be no movies like last year. No family pictures to avoid. No faking our way through. Today, we did what we needed to and what felt right to us.
This Thanksgiving was not traditional. And it’s not one that I’d like to repeat. But the day is almost done, and we made it through. And for that, I’m thankful.