November 25, 2012

A Tough Thanksgiving

I've been trying all weekend to put my thoughts together, to find the thankfulness in the days. I have a lot to be thankful for: my house wasn't ravished by a hurricane, we were able to put food on the table without counting the days until our next paycheck, we made a great dinner in a lovely kitchen and we ate together, the four of us plus my parents, who are healthy and able to come visit regularly. I am thankful for all of these things.

But the weekend was tough. Wednesday night both kids were up several times during the night. I went to bed at eleven. Jelly was up at one in the morning, asking me to wipe her runny nose. At three, a picture fell off the wall, scaring the crap out of us and making a loud racket that woke both kids. Moe was up from four to well almost six. He finally fell back asleep but of course Jelly was up and wandered into our room by seven-thirty. The rest of the weekend went much the same way.

We were all sleep deprived and short-tempered, unable to manage Jelly's whining and Moe's behaviors, which escalated quite a bit this weekend. He was about as disregulated as I've ever seen him, thrown off by lack of sleep but also the arrival of grandparents and four days without any therapy sessions. We were fortunate enough to have good weather, and spent quite a bit of time outside so he could run and climb. But when indoors, Moe still wanted to climb all the time. We rescued him several times from the top of the mantle, once from the high shelf at the top of his closet, and once sitting on top of the refrigerator. Even with extensive child-proofing, he requires more and more vigilance and it is exhausting.

This year, we declined dinner at my BFF's house because I thought it would be easier. And so, though our small thanksgiving was lovely, and it was easier, it also felt a little lonely. I don't know if anyone else felt this. Perhaps my emotion was colored by Moe's difficulties, or memories of my brother whose birthday was just three days prior.

Thanksgiving used to be one of my favorite holidays. I have so many memories of eating with aunts and uncles, talking and enjoying so much laughter around the table. We'd often play a game afterward, and always ended with several pies: pumpkin and/or sweet potato, homemade apple, and always chocolate pie, my brother's favorite. When I first had Moe, I imagined these traditions continuing, and his first Thanksgiving was at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I can picture what this could be like now - the kids running off to play after dessert while the adults drink coffee and laugh some more.

I know I am supposed to reset my expectations. I know that it isn't fair to carry my expectations of a perfect holiday, if such a thing exists, to my family now. We are no longer the same people. And I try. I try really hard. I try to enjoy the time together, remind myself that disappointment is only in the comparison, not in the thing itself. But most regular days, I struggle against the feeling that this isn't the life I planned for. The holidays make that so much more apparent.


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