My Favorite Thanksgiving Memory
My favorite Thanksgiving memory is not particularly a happy one. Which sounds weird, right? Wouldn't something that's on a list of "favorites" be happy? I guess under normal circumstances that'd be true; But my life hasn't exactly been normal. Anyways, back to Thanksgiving.
It was 2010. I was invited to join my boyfriend's family. Every year they would go to Aunt Julie's house. Appetizers, drinks, and a big beautiful family meal were on the docket. Even with happiness in the atmosphere I was heartbroken. This was the first big holiday without my biological family. I felt like an intruder...even though they were more than welcoming.
I felt lost and out of place.
Here was this beautiful family gathering. Filled with warmth and love and all I could think about was the home I grew up in. My biological family was abusive but they were what I was accustomed to. They were the only people I had ever thought of as "family." Being with them felt like betrayal. I was bouncing between "Wow, this family is so loving" and "Wow, why didn't my family love me like this?"
So why would THAT Thanksgiving be my favorite?
Well, it was the first holiday I experienced true family love. They showed me kindness when I didn't believe I deserved it. They accepted me with open arms. Including me in conversations, jokes, and in the tradition of saying what we were most thankful for changed my view of family. It was the first time I realized "family" doesn't have to be where you grew up or who raised you. I've heard they saying,
"You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your family."
I wholeheartedly disagree. Family is who you call when you're struggling with memories of abuse. Family are the people around your dinner table, at the other end of of the phone when you just need a moment to vent, and those that support you when you are at your lowest.
I love my chosen family. They have helped shape my personality, what kind of mom I have chosen to be, and how I view who family can be. So, maybe my favorite Thanksgiving isn't ripe for a Hallmark movie...but it's my favorite nonetheless.
My Favorite Thanksgiving Memory
[caption id="attachment_2838" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude.[/caption]
FULL TRANSCRIPT. (The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Be Seen and Heard Journey. Please note that this episode, like all BSH Journey episodes, features Victor speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited.)
It's Victor. Welcome to the Be Seen and Heard Journey. Thank you for being with me today. I want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving week, and I want to just tell you if you haven't had a chance to read Deanna's blog, please do.
So when this topic came up, I was a little apprehensive. I have to be completely honest. When we thought about like, "Okay let's talk about our favorite Thanksgiving moments" I really don't have any specifically.
Right away I go back to when I was a kid.
See, why do we focus on things that go wrong in our life or things that have caused us pain? Well, I'm learning that I can use that to make me stronger and to make me better. However as a child, if I can be again very transparent, we did not have very positive holidays.
I mean, yes. I love my family. And yes, I was always looking forward to being with my family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I was always thinking in the back of my mind,
"What's going to happen this year that's going to create so-and-so to leave early or this to happen, or this horrible situation?
See, my father was a very violent alcoholic. My father had incredible qualities, but he had this side of him that when it came to people being together, it just caused a lot of destructive situations in a very unhealthy environment. But I'm not going to focus on that. Because as I got older, I realized that I get to choose what things mean to me.
So I look at it from two perspectives.
One, I look back at all of those times and there were some great moments. I mean, just being with my family and just knowing that we were together was just an incredible feeling to me.
So I get that meaning, but I also can take all the negative things and I can say, "Okay, what can I do with it now?" I have made a choice that I'm not gonna recycle those situations with my children. So my kids today have taught me what Thanksgiving is all about.
See, I'm so grateful to have them in my life and I get to be with them this Thanksgiving. Knowing that this year has brought on so much stress with everyone. We really can't see everybody necessarily this Thanksgiving, I can be in the presence of my three kids who have helped me to open my eyes to new ways of experiencing things.
I'm grateful for them. And I'm grateful for all of you who have taken the time to watch our videos and to share them and to really, really dive into the blogs because Deanna has done incredible work.
So with that being said, I want to wish you and your family a happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy it as best as you can, and be grateful. Be grateful for what we all have and all the love and the care that we have for each other and for our family. So I want you to please share this with your friends and family and remember that we all deserve to be seen and heard and to be grateful. So have a great Thanksgiving. Talk to you.