Alone On Thanksgiving, By Design

[ PREFACE:  This is not a passive/aggressive blog post aimed at getting me invited to holiday dinners at random people's houses / family events / commercial buffets, so please don't take it that way. It's merely a single guy reflecting on why sometimes he enjoys being single and alone for the holidays ... and why sometimes he doesn't. Get it? Got it? Good.]

My parents divorced when I was four.  I have one older sister who was six, and a baby sister who was months old about the time the split happened, as far as I remember.

My Mom's parents were together for 55 years until her mom died in 1993.

My Dad's parents divorced before I was born. So I always had three sets of grandparents.  And two sets of parents.

And a fiance and/or girlfriend from the time I was 15.

So that made four, five or six destinations for holidays like Thanksgiving.  Depending on if my mom was with someone or not.

And I got so fucking tired of having to be at Point A and Time 1 and Point B and Time 2 and Point C and Time 3 and so on and so on ... when I became an adult, I picked on place to go every year and said screw the rest.

As a 42-year-old, with an ex-wife, two sets of parents, four family units and various friends to visit on holidays such as this ... I choose to stay home, or go hit some restaurant offering a buffet. I put on the iPod, grab some reading material, and do my best to avoid every other single person on the planet while I project, in my head, the perfect Thanksgiving Dinner.

When I was three.

When my parents still were together.

When we were at my mom's parent's house.

Eating a traditional turkey/stuffing/potatoes/veggies dinner with pumpkin pie.

With Lions football on the TV.

With no need to leave and go anywhere.

No expectations to be anywhere else.

Eat any else's food.

Just one table. One meal. One family.

That's why I like to eat alone. I can still pretend to be there.

The only thing better than that was Thanksgiving with the mother of my daughter when we were dating/married. She always cooked up one hell of a feast. People came to us. Eventually, my mom and sister started coming to eat with us. After we divorced, I still went there because it was comforting to go one place for one meal with people I didn't fear or mistrust or worry about the ridicule that would eventually come.

For many years after we divorced, I still went out there. Even after she remarried and moved. Her new hubby and I get along great. He understood my issues. He was cool with me being there. He and I get along great.

Now they live 8 hours away. And between our work schedules, they're going out for dinner, and I can't make the trip. And I have no desire to have fish and lasagna in a non-traditional setting like my family is having.

So I'm back to drawing blanks.

Sure, I've had offers, including some from great friends here who will read this and wonder why I said no ... but trust me ... my saying no isn't an insult to you ... it's more me knowing I'd rather be alone, or in a big room of people I don't know and remain anonymous, than be the stranger to most at your dinner tables forced to answer questions as to why I'm alone at 42, and why I really don't want to spend the holiday with my nuclear family, in the three, four or five locations they gather.

And that's my call ... please don't feel slighted, and please don't judge me. I do what's good for me. I have to.

Sometimes, I just like being anonymous and silent and under the radar.  It hurts less.

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