It happens just like a Kelly Clarkson song: one day you are organizing your handbags and realize that you haven’t checked your exes Twitter or Instagram or Google-imaged him in a while. Like more than a week. Like actually you can’t remember the last time. At night, you close your eyes and go to sleep. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you throw on your clothes and head to yoga class. You don’t dedicate your practice to “one day at a time.” The prolonged obsessions and compulsions cease. Like magic.
I realized this Sunday evening. After a lovely Thanksgiving watching scary movies and football, counting deer in the tiny front lawn of our city town home (These poor deer have no where to go! said mom), and reminiscing, I went home to reorganize the other thing in my life that I am wholly thankful for – my wardrobe. Up to my ears in accessories, my mind wandered back through Thanksgivings past and landed on last year.
Last year I had a wineless Thanksgiving with my ex boyfriend’s parents. A quintessential complicated divorce left their family torn and the holidays a battle of opinions and logistics – whose home to go to, don’t want to hurt mom’s feelings, but we all want to be together! The sister wanted to make a pie. The brother wasn’t coming. Combined with the maddening indecisiveness of a large family, the holidays were more arduous than enjoyable. Unable to decide on a household host, we ended up at restaurant in the middle of central Pennsylvania, wineless. They don’t serve wine at the restaurant or you just aren’t ordering it? asked my mom when I called her from the bathroom near tears. No wine here. And trust me, we could all use a damn cocktail. It’s one meal dear. There was wine at the last supper and there isn’t wine here? Makes no sense! I whispered back. I moved past the large Pennsylvanians waiting in line and back to the table where I reached for my ex boyfriend’s hand and squeezed it tight. If the double family dinner was uncomfortable for me, I could only imagine how he felt. When we left the restaurant and drove directly to the liquor store.
This year I was in boyfriendless bliss with my whiskey and wine-loving family. We took an epic video of frying our first Turkey. We played dominos. We circled the table taking turns being thankful for one another, our jobs, our lives, our education, and our sheer luck of the draw. My five-year-old cousin went last. What are you thankful for Alex? My family. This food. What else? He paused to think, I’m thankful for Christmas! he said. Here! Here! We are all thankful for Christmas! We toasted our wine. Spiked our coffees. Said our goodbyes with hugs and kisses. We’ll go see the Hunger Games on Sunday? said my little cousin. We’ll fry another turkey for Christmas! promised my Uncle.
On the way home, gratitude prevailed. Not only do I really like my family, but I absolutely adore them. My favorite times are hanging out with my family. We share great news. We share sad news. Often we are forced to yell over one other. But when we say our thanks at our Thanksgiving our eyes fill with tears because we all love each other so very much. I don’t take this for granted.
I was moving my clutch bags to a drawer, when it dawned on me. I made it through all of Thanksgiving without thinking about my ex. He just wasn’t there. I’m not sad! I said out loud. I’m not sad anymore. Will feel sad during Christmas? I wondered. Last holiday season I made a photo album where me and my ex boyfriend could be found cutting down a Christmas tree, iceskating in Rockefeller Center and opening presents on Christmas morning. It was a nice Christmas. Tree-trimming. A Christmas Carol. Fifth Avenue. I cannot help but remember, but the woeful longing has lifted. The memories leave as quickly as they come, and I’m refocused on shoes and handbags. Then my writing. My work. With renewed strength, I am able to express myself with savvy deliberation in a way that moves me forward, onward and upward.
I’m starting to wonder what I do without The Classy Issue.