Pretty amazing dysfunctional Thanksgiving sleepover #SOCS


(This post is a part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Basically, I’m supposed to write organically…no rewrites or edits, just let it flow. The word prompt is “pretty”. )  So, here goes nothing…

This Thanksgiving was pretty amazing. It went down pretty much the same way it’s gone down the past several years…my mother in law (and her dog), sister-in-law and her husband, my husband’s two nieces and their husbands (and their two dogs), me, my husband, my two sons and  our dog, all at my house. It’s only my husband’s family, not mine.  Everyone comes around 2pm, as is tradition.  I cook the turkey and desserts and they all bring a side dish, as is tradition. We eat dinner then move on to playing board games while drinking and being merry, as is tradition. Someone inevitably brings up politics or some controversial conversation, which of course never ends well when people are drinking. Someone inevitably starts yelling, which I think is pretty common at family gatherings…especially when you combine alcohol and dysfunctional family dynamics. This time, it happened to be about Trump and Muslims. (Funny how hidden family racism is not so hidden after a few bottles of wine). Nothing ever too major, since this family is used to fighting, and nothing that can’t be smoothed over with a few distractions…then we go on with our business of having a good time, as is tradition. The majority of the evening is full of laughs and quality time spent together. I especially enjoy the nieces and their husbands. They are all in their 20s and a blast to hang out with. I’ve known the girls since they were little kids, so it’s cool to have a relationship with them as adults…as equals. Around 1am, everyone (including the 2 boxers, 1 golden-doodle and 1 bulldog) packs into our 4 bedrooms and spends the night. (Someone usually passes out on the couch from having one too many shots…and one of them fell in the bathroom and crushed my dryer vent this year…one more thing to add to my appliance repair list). Every year, this is what we do. Same food, same conversation, same games, same fights, same drinking. It’s a giant dysfunctional family sleepover, and even though someone always has an argument, and most are extremely hung over the next morning, they all seem to love this tradition. My boys laugh so much at the bantering and storytelling. It brings me joy to see them interact with family.


So, what makes this dysfunctional Thanksgiving sleepover “pretty amazing”, compared to all the other ones? My husband and I separated a month ago. He moved out, and I am living here in our home with our two children. It’s still fresh…the separation. Some heavy shit went down between us this summer. Yet somehow, despite all of said heavy shit, we have been able to continue being a family with our two boys. Last week, we went to the Patriots game (damn Seahawks…grrrr….) as a family. The other night, he came over for dinner. And last night, he and his entire family came and we broke bread (and wine glasses and dryer vents) and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company. Why? Because I want my children to understand that family doesn’t end just because Mom and Dad don’t live together anymore. I can remember family holidays when I was a little kid. We would all gather at my grandmother’s house…my uncles and cousins…so much fun. Then, one by one, they all got divorced. And next thing you know, there’s no such thing as family gatherings anymore.  No more bonding. After the age of 10 or so, I never saw my cousins again…and two of them lived the next town over. We finally reconnected in my 20s, when a cousin happened to deliver a pizza to my house. We looked at each other for a few seconds, and realized “hey, you look familiar…”  We rekindled our relationship and have since become close, but I regret the time lost over the years. I don’t want my boys to know the feeling of family disappearing. It leaves a void, whether you realize it at the time or not. I want my boys to feel as much love, as much belonging, as much happiness as I can give to them. Things may change down the road. I have no idea if my husband and I will still be amicable a year from now. I have no idea if one of these dysfunctional drunken fights will be between me and him instead of my mother in law and sister-in-law. I have no idea if he will be married to someone else next year. All I know is this year. All I know is we are amicable right now. So right now, my kids just had a great, fun, traditional family Thanksgiving, bonding with their grandmother and aunt and cousins and mom and dad, a month after their dad moved out…and that’s pretty amazing.

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Nov. 26/16


11 thoughts on “Pretty amazing dysfunctional Thanksgiving sleepover #SOCS”

  1. Congratulations. That’s huge. When I was 16, I nannied for a family while they were on their 5 or 6 week summer vacation on the RI coast. Mom was on her second marriage, and she was still on very good terms with her former in-laws. In fact, a brother or sister in law and their family came and visited for a few days. I was impressed. It takes a lot of maturity to get to where you are now.

    As for the Pats and Hawks, well, I was never really into watching pro sports when I was growing up (although we wanted the Pats to win). And having a career at sea, I still cared less than nothing about pro sports. But a few years ago, my kid caught Superbowl fever and has been a diehard Seahawks fan ever since. (He was born and raised here, spending the first 3 weeks of his life literally in Seattle- in a NICU). So, sorry for the tough loss!!

  2. That IS pretty amazing. I admire your determination to continue these traditions and to smooth over the political arguments to get back to the business of having a good time together. We avoid political discussion with my father. It’s an unspoken rule supported by a skillful change of subject.My hat’s off to you!

  3. Very important stuff. My husband was previously married and although the children lived with us, we made that same effort, occasional holidays, dinner dates, birthdays, outings and whatnot, with their mother included.
    The kid in me remembers Grandma’s house before and after divorces, too. These things have lasting impact. I don’t know that my husband would have done this if I hadn’t explained that…
    One of the first things I explained was that it’d be nice to have a photo of my parents and me after the divorce. Not ‘Here I am with Dad’ or ‘Here I am with Mom’ but TOGETHER.
    I sure hope you keep it up. It’s challenging, but more love is always better.

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