My parents separated when I was very young, 4. There was a complicated custody agreement that resulted in me and my brother spending every other thanksgiving with each parent. When father lived in town, the day was split.
I am now 37 and that still affects me. I hate going anywhere on thanksgiving. It has become a very personal holiday to me where I do exactly what I want. I don’t do family dinners with family I only see once a year. Call me selfish if you’d like, You wouldn’t be the first, but I don’t really care. When I was little I didn’t have a choice, now I do.
I remember having to leave just when school was out for thanksgiving. Having to leave my mom behind and worrying what she would do without us. I remember having thanksgiving dinner with people I barely knew and feeling so terribly lonely and left out.
When I got older and father lived in town, I fought it. Oh how I fought it. My mom would tell me she didn’t have a choice, we had to go, the court said so. I remember one year, right after father remarried. We went to her families house for thanksgiving. It was horrible. My father and stepmother were the only people me or my brother knew. It was terrible.
I remember having to eat early with nana/pap mom, and having to leave early in the day when they were preparing. I hated it. I remember having to eat 2 full meals in an attempt to have noone feel left out (I only did this when young, when I got older I ate what I wanted).
And so now…….. Now I prepare what I want, and eat with family who mean something. I don’t travel on thanksgiving either.