Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Thanksgiving Post

This year, the kids did Thanksgiving.

My guess is that it will be one of those markers for them-- the year they did a grown-up thing, making Thanksgiving dinner for the family. For me, that was making a dentist appointment without prompting. Which is pretty funny, since I was dumped head first into "grown up" at 22 when my mother died. Somehow getting an apartment, cooking Thanksgiving, moving to the big city, didn't register as grown up. But making a dentist appointment was a grown-up thing to do.

The kids potlucked it, like normal people. My sister-in-law, many years ago and against SOP, decreed that the host family had to cook the whole meal. This was not something we had ever done, but suddenly it was the correct "etiquette". She does this sometimes-- decides we're the royal family and have to follow entirely invented rules of proper behavior.

But the kids broke past this, because they don't have the equipment or cooking skill to make an entire meal; in fact, when they expressed amazement at the amount of work it was just to make a turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, I pointed out that I used to make the entire meal by myself. They were suitably contrite.

They did a great job--turkey was moist and delicious, side dishes were appropriate and traditional (brought by me), dessert was amazing (brought by SIL). Nga's new boyfriend fit in nicely. Seng's girlfriend was at her parents, but there were hints of them hosting next year.

Wei did not come. He wanted to bring Sparky. Kids said no, so he took his ball and went home.

Which is what it felt like. Selfish, narcissistic, dense.

Here's what I thought at the time: Sparky was about to be alone on Thanksgiving for the first time, and he didn't feel right about having dinner with the family that won't accept her. The problem is we are really nice people; we might have relented if we'd known the story. I wonder what the pressure on me would have been, if he'd just told them, or me, this-- she's going to be alone, please don't make me choose.

Here's what I think now, after a long conversation with him the day before the divorce decree went through: he thinks it's unfair that he has to always be "tripping over his ex" (direct quote) at family events. He thinks I'm not a family member anymore.

It wasn't about him choosing at all. It was about me just getting out of his way. It was about the family letting him have his way.

Based on our history, I'm afraid that in the end, he will.