It’s relatively well known that I got engaged a week after my parents split up. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to plan a wedding OR had your family break apart, but I would advise against experiencing both in tandem.** My job was also at an all-time low. We are talking peak stress five days a week.
For the first six months of this strange new world, my brain seemed to shut down. I had a hard time remembering things. There are dinners I went to with people whose names and faces I can’t recall. There were meetings I forgot I attended within 24 hours of attending them. When I wasn’t forgetting things, I was fretting that I had some sort of early on-set Alzheimer’s. I may not have appeared to be a hot mess, but a hot mess I was.
Which is probably why I’ve never told this awesome story from the first Thanksgiving without both of my parents.
My parents separated in July 2009, and by November, they were still living in our house together. A couple weeks before Thanksgiving, my dad had had it.
“I just want to let you know that I’m moving out,” my dad said to me over the phone. “I am still trying to figure some things out with your mother, but I’ve just come to the conclusion that I can’t live like this.”
We’re either together, or we’re not is what I heard, and I didn’t blame him. He had an apartment and would be moving into it two weeks before Thanksgiving.
When I asked my mom what our holiday plans were, she quipped that they’d be the same as always — my aunt, uncle, cousins, their kids and my aging grandparents all staying at our house. My brother, my dad and I were disheartened. I think were hoping to find a way to work through the first Thanksgiving apart, together.
But on we trudged. And we were low on drama until the day after Thanksgiving. I walked into our house after dinner with D’s family to nobody talking to each other.
“Uh, hi. What’s up?”
My mom topped off her wine glass and led me out of the kitchen and into the home office. She looked like she’d just done battle.