Bored Housewives Network

Getting through the day, one bonbon at a time.

Friday, November 25, 2005

whiny product of a broken home

I was having a conversation yesterday about the importance of Thanksgiving as a family holiday. My MIL was the child of immigrants, who grew up in Cambridge (kind of the Berkeley of the 30s), so Thanksgiving was not particularly important to her growing up. When she became a mother, she and my FIL lived 3,000 miles away from their own parents, so they didn't make a big deal of the holiday--no travelling home and having a huge family event. She was interested in what my experience had been, and whether I missed having a big family event.

In a word, no. One of the things about being the child of what used to be called a 'broken home,' is that all holidays are complicated. For a time, my favorite holiday was Halloween, because it was the one holiday that my parents didn't care about at all--the one holiday they ceded to their children. There was never any bickering about who got to sort the candy. We spent most of Thanksgiving and Christmas trucking back and forth the twenty miles between my childhood home and my dad's bachelor apartment. Later, when my mom got remarried and I moved in with my dad, I spent those holidays driving my brothers back and forth between both of their houses. So I don't miss that at all. And I definitely don't want my own kids to have to experience it, either.

But something struck me this afternoon, as I was thinking about that conversation yesterday. The first time that I ever ran away from home was on Thanksgiving, when I was about 14. And I didn't remember that yesterday. There was a point in my life when I thought I would never be able to think of Thanksgiving, without remembering myself trudging through that cold gray afternoon on the way to a friend's house. But I didn't think of it once yesterday.

That's a pretty phenomenal thing, in my emotional history. A sign that, with enough time, all wounds are healed.


  • At 2:48 PM, Blogger Tammy said…

    It's interesting that you talk about disappearing baggage. I was thinking recently about the fact that part of the reason I waited so long to have a child was because I wanted to be on good terms with my own childhood. It seemed like a necessary component to creating a healthy environment for Sam's childhood. And I think I got to a pretty good place before I got pregnant. But what's funny is that since Sam was born, it seems like any lingering ghosts have disappeared. Maybe it's just a side effect of mommy-brain, but I feel like I've had a psychic enema. Mind you, I'm not complaining.

    Maybe I'll get into more details someday -- and I can't tell you how much I admire your candour, landismom -- but for now suffice it to say it would read like a cross between Oates and Faulkner.

  • At 4:32 PM, Blogger Cataclysm said…

    Hey Landismom,

    Yep, holidays were always an emotional black hole for us too, sucking light and energy from any situation where one expected fun family times.

    But crazy as this sounds, I've seen the other side and it wasn't that great either - my husband Pete's family is SOOO normal that for the couple of xmas' I spent with them, I got more tense waiting for something weird to happen. It was a little too quiet and nice... and well, downright impersonal.

    Desperate situations bring out the best and worst in people and your truckin' back and forth between homes, if nothing else, is a valid part of your history. Most parents do the best they can for their kids, even if they screw it up entirely. And it gaves you a benchmark as a parent, eh?!

  • At 1:57 PM, Blogger SlackerMom said…

    Interesting post. In the past year as I've been thinking more about my childhood, I've realized that I had forgotten (or pushed away) a lot of memories. Some were painful and, surprisingly, some weren't. They just seem to fade into the background.

    Personally, I love Thanksgiving despite the fact that, like you, we had to spend so much time schlepping between my mom's family and my dad's family.

  • At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…



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