This has been a seriously odd Thanksgiving. Diana and I didn't go anywhere, which in a lot of ways was kind of nice. She cooked a Turkey breast and made some mashed potatoes (with skins) and we had a quiet dinner while catching up on some of our DVR'd shows.
For me, Thanksgiving always seemed like such a production. When I was younger, it was at my grandparents' house, with 20 some people sitting around the ping-pong table in the basement. For some reason, at my youngest, it was assumed that I didn't like turkey, and my grandmother would always make a hotdog for me. In retrospect, that's really odd, especially since today the only meat that I eat is poultry.
For a lot of family gatherings, when I was growing up, I always wanted to engage in conversation with the grown-ups. Maybe it was because there was nothing else to do, or maybe because I was a nerd. I'd listen carefully for anything subject that I could actually meaningfully contribute to, hoping for the attention. It certainly implies a lot about my personality.
When Stephanie came into my life, things changed a bit. By that time, my aunt and uncle lived down the street and would often host the big holiday gatherings. We were educated people doing interesting things (Steph was really educated), and some of the family took a great interest in us. Most still did not, and I think that's the reason I just feel so indifferent toward much of my family. It's not that I don't like them, I just feel like they didn't pay attention to me as a child. It was, in turn, hard for me to take an interest in their lives because many of them never seemed happy or willing to talk about anything.
Of course, it was easy to roll with my family compared to Steph's. I continually felt bad for her in every way because her relationships with her small family were almost continually fucked up. In a lot of ways, spending time with my family was like a reprieve for her. My fondest memories were of our private holidays, often with a couple of friends. We had a lot of good times together.
I think that's a part of why the holidays are still hard for me, because despite the sometimes difficult conditions, we had our own kind of normal, and it hurt a lot when I didn't have that anymore. My first Thanksgiving alone was truly alone. My second one was with Cath's family, which was one of those overwhelming situations that were hard to fit into (though her dad is easily one of the most interesting people you'll ever meet). Last year was the first with Diana and some of her Toledo family, and it was a small enough affair that it was easy to blend in. I still felt out of place, but it was certainly a warm and calm feeling.
This year, we spent a great deal of time pulling up the carpet and generally being miserable. The dust and pee smell at one point had me wheezing and struggling to breathe normally. A Zyrtec would eventually put me out cold once Diana started to cook. But eventually we got everything upstairs moved into one bedroom, and there is about 1,300 square feet of nasty carpet and pad in the garage.
The carpet replacement is a precursor to moving in the remainder of Diana's stuff, in part so her family has a place to sleep when they're here for Christmas. But one of the things this brings up is Diana's feeling that this isn't really her house. I've lived here since 2001, and frankly it doesn't feel like "our" space either. It's not that I have a heap of negative baggage or anything, as I spent a lot of years with one of the great loves of my life here. But with me and Diana starting a new life together, it's hard to do so when there are so many memories that are a part of this place. Moving in together, and now getting married, is like a reboot for my life. I guess I just want all aspects of it to be truly great.
So for all the negatives abound lately, I'm thankful first and foremost that this great person has been brought into my life. I'm thankful that I'm relatively healthy, if a little overweight. I'm thankful for the skills that I have acquired, and hope they get me back in the world of the employed soon. Above all, I'm thankful for my past and my future, and all of the people who have had incredible impact on me. I am largely a product of what those people have given me.