As one half of a shared-parenting divorced couple, I have some experience with solo holidays, those years when the kid was with the ex and I just wasn’t feeling it, all the gathering and festivities and so forth. Rather than try to create some alternative for the sake of the season, I would generally just have a day or two to myself, doing what I wanted, which was often nothing much at all.
A movie, a walk by the river. Then maybe another movie.
On those holidays when I was solo, I didn’t share my lack of plans with anyone until after the fact, because when people learn you’re alone for The Holidaystm they get all sad for you and you have to reassure them that no, no, it’s really okay. And then they seem to feel a need to include you in their own holiday stuff, and bless their generosity of spirit, but no. Those inclusions are awkward and uncomfortable and whenever I’ve accepted them I’ve felt compelled to demonstrate what a good time I was having, which isn’t the way having a good time works.
Now I say, “No, thanks, I’m really looking forward to being with no one at all,” in a way that doesn’t make me sound like a complete misanthrope but still gets the point across.
This year, though, with the kid doing a Friendsgiving out of town, I did make plans. I said yes to an invitation for dinner with a group of friends, bought the ingredients to bring a salad of greens and pears, glazed some walnuts to put on top of it and looked up what sort of dressing I might want to to pour over it (a balsamic vinaigrette with a bit of raspberry.) I was looking forward to it. The salad. The friends.
And then I got a cold. A sore throat. A sniffle. Congestion.
Once upon a time I would have taken a Sudafed and motored on through. These are not those times. As another friend who had to bow out because of the flu said, “I wouldn’t stay home if I didn’t like y’all so much.”
So it’s the cat and me this Thanksgiving, along with this lovely salad. Maybe a movie. And a walk by the river. Then maybe another movie.