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Dealing with the holiday blues

A few years ago I blogged about Grief, Loss and Change over the Holidays - Making New Traditions. As I wrote it, I was thinking mainly about those holidays that had to be faced after the death of beloved family members, like my grandparents and my mother, or after a life changing trauma - like celebrating Thanksgiving only three weeks after experiencing a stillbirth.

But I was also aware that my family dynamic was changing - Mr. Pete and I are getting older, the kids are growing up - change is inevitable.

As it turns out, this is going to be one of those big change years. My son, although finally married, lives eight hours away with his wife and they will be coming up after Thanksgiving Day. So for the first time in forever, I will not see all of my children on Thanksgiving Day. But my oldest isn't going to be the only one missing. The two other older boys have plans with the families of their significant others, so the chance of seeing them on Thanksgiving Day is also slim. But perhaps the biggest change is that for the first time in over 20 years, my sister and I aren't doing a Thanksgiving feast together. Even the year my mother died and sis had her own health scare and Mr. Pete and I essentially cooked all the food and brought it over, we still had the family together.

It's probably time for us to make this split. Between us we have 10 children. If each of them brings a girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse, that puts us up to 20 young people and 4 oldsters (which would be me, Mr. Pete, Sis and Mr. Bill). If we start to throw in grandchildren, of which we have one so far, the numbers are going to be huge. So short of renting out a hall or the back of a restaurant, it's probably time to split up. Realistically it makes perfect sense. It still hurts though, probably more in a nostalgic way than anything else.

So I went back to read my old post to see if there really was any wisdom there and four of those points (#4, 6 and 7) stood out to me!

#4 - we are making new traditions. In fact, we sort of started a tradition a few years ago with the annual Run for the Homeless.  It's a way to be part of the entire city community, give money to a good cause, and watch my wonderful runners run through beautiful historic Glendale Cemetery. We've done that for a number of years now and the atmosphere of the crowd and the runners is always festive and fun. It's had to be in a bad mood when you see people running by in their Pilgrim and Indian costumes, tutus and other gear.  It's just a good time.

Thanksgiving Race for Homeless 2011 033

#6 - We're downplaying the actual Thanksgiving Day.  After the run we're coming home and having our own little dinner, just the three kids at home, probably my goddaughter, Mr. Pete and me! Just at home, just us, with probably a walk afterwards, and some good movies.

#7 - Lastly, we are making a new tradition AND doing something for just us!  We are sharing Thanksgiving on Sunday, with our new in-laws, so that we can share the newlyweds instead of having them spend time with each family separately. I think that will be more restful for everyone!

And perhaps the biggest change I have had to make in my own heart - of being Thankful for all of the Thanksgivings I have celebrated in the past with loved ones past and present, and instead of dreading the loss of what was, trying to look forward to the seasons ahead with curiosity and excitement for something new.