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Old 11-19-2018, 01:18 PM
ThopterMom ThopterMom is offline
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Default Thanksgiving Rant: I prefer to have a quiet meal

Background: We are just over a year and half into this "experience" with 23 to go. My son is about 1000 miles away (his choice - way to go Uncle Sam, you give him the one thing he wanted that is the opposite of what I wanted)

So Thanksgiving: my husband keeps asking me what I want to do. He doesn't think "nothing" is the right answer. My aunt and the one cousin who generally switch off having Thanksgiving are dealing with health issues of the hubby/dad. My mom is living down at the farm with no space and very little in the way of modern amenities (ie. In the winter you have to flush with a bucket of water because the upstairs water is turned off so it wont freeze in the pipes.) My sister is living in a camper on the farm until they get a house built. Also, I really don't know who knows what (our family gossip system is very broken) so if we got together with extended family I would be constantly waiting for THE question. To top it off, my daughter in law's (other son) mother passed away unexpectedly at the beginning of Nov.
Last year we did ham and waffles with just my son and dil. I am fine with that again. It will be a hard day, as it's the first holiday without her mother.
Any way you slice it, it's not going to be great. I'd just prefer to have a quiet meal with the 4 of us after watching the parade. Which is what will probably happen since I'm the only one who ever plans anything and I just don't want to. But I will feel guilty about it, and probably get some snarky comments along the way.
In the grand scheme of things, this isn't a big deal, but thanks for letting me rant.
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Old 11-19-2018, 01:47 PM
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That's a lot "ugggh" to deal with during the holidays. It sounds like you're
asserting what your needs are and I'm proud of you for that. If hubs wants something bigger and better, let him make it happen.

I'm not a parent, my husband is in prison. I am a live-in caretaker for my parents who have serious health issues. Thanksgiving is a non-holiday for me. I've never cared two peeps about it but my mom has always had this vision of a table full of people with a big turkey and...I don't know what because we've never really had it. Only child, small dysfunctional extended family. When I was 29 I stopped attending family dinners if it included anyone beyond my parents. I didn't like the people, if we weren't related we wouldn't be friends so I didn't see the point. Over ten years later everyone still blames me for the destruction of family holidays. Meh. Let them think that. Let your family be snarky. It's not a reflection on us, on you.

One of my favorite things to think in situations like this is a quote by Anne Lamott: "You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better."

In this case, better could be-- fight for a facility closer to home, husband picking up the task of planning the holiday to give you some relief, family respecting a difficult time for you by pitching in and making a safe space for you to talk about your experience.
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Old 11-19-2018, 02:38 PM
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Holidays are just days really arent they? I agree if your husband wants to organise thanks giving let him. Its not a thing over here we dont celebrate it.I have always loved Christmas and I spend it with my children and grandchildren. We dont include extended family as we are not close and for good reason.
I grew up with my father and step mother and step mother often recants her memories of big happy christmas family gatherings at the christmas table and around a log fire. Although none of that ever happened I only recall arguements and family fights over who paid for what.
There is so much pressure to have these idyllic family gatherings, but you do what suits you and what gives you peace . You deserve it.
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Old 11-19-2018, 04:00 PM
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Holidays are hard when the family you want can't be there & the ones that you'd trade are what you have to choose from. If your husband wants a warm fuzzy feeling & being around a lot of people with turkey, find a place & volunteer to serve dinner for those in need. My brother & his wife do that every year now that their kids are grown. If they can't all be together, they get joy out of helping others celebrate the day. And in the end the ones who serve have even more to be thankful for. It does help ease the pain of missing a loved one.
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Old 11-19-2018, 08:13 PM
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" (his choice - way to go Uncle Sam, you give him the one thing he wanted that is the opposite of what I wanted)"

Your son had NO say so in where they sent him. He was placed based on his security level and the first bunk to become available for that security level.

Yes, there might be prisons at his security level closer, but then there are ones further away too. Is isn't like they asked his opinion; even a judge's suggestion is viewed as merely a suggestion by the BoP.
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by safran View Post
" (his choice - way to go Uncle Sam, you give him the one thing he wanted that is the opposite of what I wanted)"

Your son had NO say so in where they sent him. He was placed based on his security level and the first bunk to become available for that security level.

Yes, there might be prisons at his security level closer, but then there are ones further away too. Is isn't like they asked his opinion; even a judge's suggestion is viewed as merely a suggestion by the BoP.
I know that's usually the case, but they did ask him and he went to the exact prison where he asked to be so....
He's a kid who never wanted to be fussed over even when he was little. I know this was his way of making it so I wouldn't "have" to visit. I think he just doesn't get that it would not have been a burden.
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Old 11-19-2018, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by GaReform View Post
Holidays are hard when the family you want can't be there & the ones that you'd trade are what you have to choose from. If your husband wants a warm fuzzy feeling & being around a lot of people with turkey, find a place & volunteer to serve dinner for those in need. My brother & his wife do that every year now that their kids are grown. If they can't all be together, they get joy out of helping others celebrate the day. And in the end the ones who serve have even more to be thankful for. It does help ease the pain of missing a loved one.
We were going to do that last year, but didnt end up being needed. We just loaned out tables and chairs insead. We live in a tiny town, not much of that going on here. I think hubby wants a big family dinner because he's from a big family. But they are too far away for us to go to
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Old 11-20-2018, 02:24 PM
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I get confused between the expectations I put on myself and the ones I think others are putting on me. I suspect that sometimes it is more of me doing it to myself. My house was the place local family and friends came to for the holidays when I was married to the kids' dad. After the divorce, I moved away, was married and divorced again, and moved back. I miss those days and wish for them back but those times are gone. Yet, I keep thinking it's my job to make things happen. What I finally realized is that it's up to me to decide what I want to do and what I don't want to do.

As others suggested, I have done some volunteer things the past couple of years. I go to a friends on Thanksgiving and bring wine (don't cook) and while I love Christmas, it has been pared down to the tree and gifts for my daughter and granddaughter with the meal purchased pre-made from the grocery store. I haven't made cookies in years and while I miss eating them, I realized I don't miss making them for everyone.

The hardest thing to get past is my own expectations of myself.
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Old 11-20-2018, 02:43 PM
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I know that's usually the case, but they did ask him and he went to the exact prison where he asked to be so....
He's a kid who never wanted to be fussed over even when he was little. I know this was his way of making it so I wouldn't "have" to visit. I think he just doesn't get that it would not have been a burden.

This is more of an odd coincidence than it is the BoP doing what he asked. I think he would be there regardless of where he requested.

In addition, as Iíve said here many times, I HATED visits & begged friends and family to not spend their time or money coming to see me.

Me and only me caused me to go to prison. I didnít want anybody else to have to contend with it.
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Old 11-20-2018, 06:15 PM
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I personally happen to like Thanksgiving, but the 1st one was ROUGH. I decided I just couldn't do it that year, so we went 2 hours away, to hubby's brother's house. What a cluster! Most everything came from a box or a can...I LOVE cooking, it's like my love language or something & canned/boxed is just NOT! That was in 2005, when our older son had been away for 6 months with a while left to go.

This year, younger son is far away in federal & the older one (out over 10 years now) is down in Florida doing hurricane relief. So, I decided what I wanted to do. I did not ask hubby's permission, or anything (he's a hermit!) but, I put out an open invite to anyone who, like us feels like an orphan. I now have 11 guests who are all bringing yummies, I have very little cooking to do & hope to keep my mind & heart as busy & happy as possible given our situation. I will look for the little joys.

It's YOUR DAY, too. No guilt, no shame. I have a MUCH harder time at Christmas, personally - especially since my baby boy was arrested on Dec 23rd 2016, Also my birthday is pretty hard on me. SO - I take control over THOSE days & I do what I NEED to do, to either rest & allow myself to grieve, or to party like it's 1999!
I pray you give yourself the gift of grace & NOT feeling like you have to meet anyone's expectations.
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Old 11-22-2018, 11:08 AM
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I personally happen to like Thanksgiving, but the 1st one was ROUGH. I decided I just couldn't do it that year, so we went 2 hours away, to hubby's brother's house. What a cluster! Most everything came from a box or a can...I LOVE cooking, it's like my love language or something & canned/boxed is just NOT! That was in 2005, when our older son had been away for 6 months with a while left to go.

This year, younger son is far away in federal & the older one (out over 10 years now) is down in Florida doing hurricane relief. So, I decided what I wanted to do. I did not ask hubby's permission, or anything (he's a hermit!) but, I put out an open invite to anyone who, like us feels like an orphan. I now have 11 guests who are all bringing yummies, I have very little cooking to do & hope to keep my mind & heart as busy & happy as possible given our situation. I will look for the little joys.

It's YOUR DAY, too. No guilt, no shame. I have a MUCH harder time at Christmas, personally - especially since my baby boy was arrested on Dec 23rd 2016, Also my birthday is pretty hard on me. SO - I take control over THOSE days & I do what I NEED to do, to either rest & allow myself to grieve, or to party like it's 1999!
I pray you give yourself the gift of grace & NOT feeling like you have to meet anyone's expectations.
Thank you for the tips. I'm grappling with all kinds of emotions since yesterday. I keep on thinking about holidays past when my kids were living at home and my family were still with us and I would lovingly prepare a huge feast for them. With my boy at the start of his prison term, I feel pretty deflated today. But i will try and make the best of my day. I have a new grand nephew to meet and perhaps the blessing of a new life will take the sadness away. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
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Old 11-22-2018, 07:00 PM
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I hope whatever you did you had a good day. The holidays are hard. Our son was able to call today and we all talked to him - it was good.

Our son is only 113 miles away so we visit often and he is very appreciative but also realizes that sometimes real life gets in the way.
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Old 11-26-2018, 06:51 PM
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Thank you for the tips. I'm grappling with all kinds of emotions since yesterday. I keep on thinking about holidays past when my kids were living at home and my family were still with us and I would lovingly prepare a huge feast for them. With my boy at the start of his prison term, I feel pretty deflated today. But i will try and make the best of my day. I have a new grand nephew to meet and perhaps the blessing of a new life will take the sadness away. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

Congrats on the new little one, I hope your day was not too difficult. We got to talk (sort of) with our boy 2 times, but with a lot of people & things going on, it was not the best conversations! But, he called us on our usual Sunday morning time & we ALL survived it. And we move forward. I am now looking forward to a visit to see him (all by myself) early in January. I'll be flying & am already praying the weather will be kind to me!

I have made some crazy Christmas plans with the hubby, so it will be a VERY different holiday for us & I am really hoping it will keep my heart & mind out of the darkness.
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