I made two pumpkin cheesecakes the other night ... one for me to take to the mountains, and one for my kids to take to my sisters.
My boyfriend invited me and my kids to his cabin in the mountains for Thanksgiving. Initially they all said they could make it, but it turned out that none of them can get off work long enough. My oldest daughter and I were talking about Thanksgiving and she said something about cooking it this year. I told her I would cook (I always have!). She said she thought I was going to the cabin. I replied that I wasn't going since none of the kids could go. "Mom," she said, "I think you should go. I can cook something and have Thing 2 and 3 over."
I told her I didn't know ... it didn't feel right to go out of town on a holiday without my kids. She poo-pooed my reservations and told me to go and have fun ... then began filling her Pinterest board with "easy" Thanksgiving menu ideas. I told her I'd have to talk to the others before I made up my mind.
I broached the subject with Thing 2. She said "I've already talked to Thing 1 about this, and I think you should go. It's not like it's Christmas. All I eat is some mashed potatoes and the skin off the turkey." Then I approached Thing 3. I started to ask him about it, but he cut me off ... "I heard. I think you should go."
Golly ... they all sure seem anxious to get rid of me!!!
I made the decision to go to the mountains, but it felt wrong! To appease my conscious (somewhat), I called Thing 1 and asked if she wanted me to make my green beans and a pumpkin cheesecake for them so that there would be a little bit of "me" at Thanksgiving, and she immediately gushed "Yes! Thing 1A (her new husband) was wanting your pumpkin cheesecake, and it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without your green beans!"
One of my sisters called. She knows I'm going out of town and asked if the kids would want to come to her house. I wasn't sure if Thing 1 had her heart set on cooking this year or if she had already bought food for the feast, so told my sister to call them. She did, and they all accepted, so I feel a little less guilty at abandoning my children. With the exception of last year, we always celebrate Thanksgiving with my sister and her family (read about the first celebration here).
I took a day of vacation on Wednesday and rode to the mountains with my boyfriend's sweet daughter and her new husband. Today, she and I will prepare the feast together (the turkey is already started). I expect to have a wonderful time while I'm there, and I know my kids will have fun at my sister's house ... they all love her, her husband, and their little cousin ... but I'm still struggling a little with the guilt.
I was pregnant with Thing 3 when I separated from their father, so it's just been me and my three little bears all these years. They were my world. They've been the deciding factor in every decision I've ever made. Raising kids, especially alone, is hard work. When I dreamed of having children, I honestly had no idea how much work it would be. It was draining, difficult, and lonely ... but I did it. There were a few bumps and detours, but they all turned out pretty good. They're smart, witty, cute, and fun to be around ... and I'm very proud of all of them.
Because it was "us against the world", I'm closer to my kids than most. I'm thankful that they all have their own lives and friends and jobs. I spent many years overwhelmed, struggling, and sleep-deprived, and dreaming of the day I'd have my life back. And now I do. It is nice not to have to worry about keeping three tiny humans alive, chasing them around all day, and collapsing into bed exhausted every night. It was a wild ride, but we made some great memories and had a lot of fun.
I know I'll have a good day and so will my kiddo's ... but I sure do miss them.