I have a nice little house. It's not very big, about 1500 square feet, but at one time it housed a lot of love. This was pretty much our Thanksgiving Dinner every year. It's always been my favorite holiday, mainly because it wasn't about gifts, it was about family and giving thanks for all we'd been blessed with.
This year my family is fractured. Bill was the peacemaker. Nobody, but nobody wanted to make him mad or hurt him. He was the glue. They say that's usually the mother, but in our case it was him. I was too outspoken, too truthful and to tell you the truth I always thought the kids loved him more than me.
They would deny this, of course, but it's true. Make Mom mad and she will bitch and point out exactly why you're wrong. She'll battle it out until you tune her out. Dad would look at you with an expression on his face that would have you slinking away in shame. Your conscience would torture you until you apologized and mended fences.
Two of my three boys aren't really speaking. There are problems with assorted girlfriends, ex-wives, unpaid debts to each other, jealously about who got what of Dad's, who is getting what of Dad's, I could go on and on. I'm grateful they sucked it up for the funeral, but as soon as that was over the real issues began. Or maybe while Bill was ill I ignored it. Maybe during the days following Bill's death I didn't notice the underlying trouble. It's hard to believe that grown children who came together to love and support each other during the most painful time in their lives would revert to sibling rivalry as soon as it was over.
My two daughters aren't much better. For a variety of reasons too personal to go into they have a very contentious relationship. For Dad, they put aside their differences. Now that he's gone, each day is a new and wondrous opportunity for trouble. They are both loving women, too bad they can't love each other.
Sometimes I wonder where these children came from. They were all raised in the same house by the same parents. Parents who for the most part treated each other with respect and love. Maybe it was me. I admit I have a temper and can only be pushed so far. There was the time I got so mad I threw an entire pizza on the floor and jumped up and down on it. There was the time I got so mad at the washing machine I tried to shove it out the back door and got it stuck. That was a little hard to explain when Bill came home.
During the political season I've heard them whisper to each other as they come in the house, "Don't activate CNN," meaning don't get Mom started. Maybe I'm not the mother I thought I was, or tried to be.
I've been thinking about the word 'home' and wondering where mine is. Home should be the best place in your world, the place where when you walk in the door you breathe a sigh of relief. This is the place where people love and accept you. This is where you come to put aside the days troubles. It's not really a place, it's a feeling. You're with your people, your family. They understand you. I don't have a home anymore. The only person in all the world who 'got me', who knew me inside and out, who understood what motivated me, what was in my heart and soul, is gone. So where is home? It's not in his arms. It's not in our bed. And I certainly don't think it will be around the Thanksgiving table.
Do I really want to spend a small fortune, cook two turkeys, bake dozens of pies, get out the good china and crystal for a meal where people are only here to placate me, make me feel better when I know in my heart there is nothing in the world that can accomplish that? Maybe not.