I grew up in a small family. It was just me, my mom and my brother. My brother moved out when I was nine so then it was even smaller. Yes, I have aunts, uncles and cousins, but not many and they weren't really a part of my life except on holidays.
Twenty years ago I moved to Maryland. Since then I've found a new family. My girls and I call these families our family of birth and our family of choice. I love my family of birth. I cherish my family of choice.
This is my first holiday without any of my family of birth. I'll see my mom in the morning but dinner is provided where she lives and we all know there is a high likelihood of their food being better than what I can cook. My kids are with their dad. I'm not a member of my boyfriend's family. It's a strange feeling.
Some members of my family of choice are in the same boat. This is why I love them. When one of us is in need, we support each other. I had concerns about Thanksgiving. I understand that I have to share my children and I do so without reservation. But it makes for lonely holidays sometimes. I will say that my ex and I do a good job of making sure neither is alone on a holiday. He invited me to Thanksgiving dinner at his home - with his girlfriend and her children. They are nice and we've made that work before but some holidays work better than others and Thanksgiving isn't one I want to make into a modern day Brady Bunch holiday.
This was a great Thanksgiving - dining out with two of my favorite people. There were lots of laughs. No family drama. No forced conversation. No being on my best behavior. Just fun. Exactly what I needed.
My girls come back to me tomorrow and we'll have a family dinner with my mom on Saturday. That will be nice, too. Today was just what I needed. Not traditional but perfect. I'm grateful for this family.