I saw a friend say “Happy Weirdsgiving!” on twitter, and I have now adopted the word to describe the holiday just past. Hopefully it will be a singular celebration and next year we can be back to Thanksgiving. I’m pretty burned out today. I had piles of anxiety and depression on the days leading up to the holiday. Most of it tied to grief over the holiday that couldn’t be. For example, I really, really missed being able to be unreservedly happy about other people’s plans without having to worry that their plans would contribute to pandemic spread. I missed being able to make my own plans without worrying I would also add to that spread. I felt reasonably settled about not seeing extended family, but I still haven’t uncoupled my brain from 24 years of being in charge of making sure my now-married daughter felt loved, included, taken care of during the holiday, and I kept crashing into the conflicting need to provide those while simultaneously not mixing households. Logically, we’re all adults and it should be fine. My anxiety brain was sure relationships were destined to be permanently damaged. Social anxiety is vicious. It prevents me from having exactly the conversations which would alleviate the concern, and then prevents me from believing the information I’m given by other people which logically should make everything fine. I ended up needing a rescue dose of anti-anxiety medicine on Wednesday night.
So Weirdsgiving part 1 was me repressing feelings of anxiety and depression by focusing on cooking ridiculously decorative foods. I didn’t even need the foods to turn out well. It was the making of them and then sharing results, good or bad. In fact failures would almost be better because I could invite everyone to laugh with me at how badly things went wrong. Part 1 lasted Monday through Wednesday
Weirdsgiving part 2 was day-of preparations. The elaborate Kitchen Timing Dance where Howard starts mashed potatoes while I start on roll dough. Then I work on finalizing pies and making rolls while Howard mashes potatos. Then I have my son smashing gram crackers while I twist roll dough into fancier-than-necessary knots. Then another kids shows up and becomes my secondary hands for gram cracker crusts, washing decorative serving dishes, putting out the turkey shaped butter, and dozens of rapid-fire, getting-ready tasks while I smash filling into croissants for chicken rolls, and start pasta for an alfredo bake. (We’re not turkey people.) I loved that chaotic stepping-around-each-other while everyone is focused on preparing food for everyone to share. It had a happy all-in-this-together energy. It culminated it the un-molding of the fancy jellos. They worked! I have photos!
Weirdsgving part 3 was dropping off a food box for my daughter and son-in-law. Sneaking a masked hug I probably shouldn’t have, even though I held my breath, but I haven’t seen her in two months. She lived in my house this time last year the proximity of the holiday makes her being moved out more real for a time. Everything is weird and hard, and hugs are how we make things better for each other, only this time they’re exactly what we shouldn’t. Telling them the Zoom meeting was already open and I’d see them on the computer, then driving away ten minutes to my own house. So close and yet not.
Weirdsgiving part 4 was supposed to be everyone at the table with the computer at the end, and talking and visiting and eating. And it was all of that. Three households connected via internet (Daughter’s former roommate gets to come to Thanksgiving as an adoptive family member.) The best bit being when I told them to examine the pie I put in the delivered food box, which told them clearly in pie crust letters “No Spiders in Here.” Daughter immediately scowled at us through the camera and said “Dad!” having correctly identified the party guilty of coming up with that idea.
However Weirdsgiving part 4 also included the moment when I called my son to come to the table and he said “why is the house so cold?” while shivering. So suddenly we had to quarantine a family member away from the table to be alone in his basement room where he had a panic attack that his fever and body aches were Covid. Which maybe they were? We couldn’t know, only quarantine. I bounced between taking care of suddenly-sick-quarrantined-and-scared, and trying to participate in the family joyful visiting of Zoomsgiving. I got to hear about a third of the exchanged stories. He calmed and got food. I got to participate in some of the laughing. Mostly it was joyful and good.
Weirdsgiving part 5 had fewer group games than anticipated. Leftovers were monched through, but quarantine tamped down the merriment once the Zoomsgiving call ended. Helpings of leftovers and mission-accomplished lassitude alternated with maybe-we-now-have-Covid-in-our-house anxiety. The major group activity was talking each other through anxiety attacks and contingency plans, which I guess is still family togetherness. Oh, and a brief Zoom call with extended family. It was nice to see faces.
Weirdsgiving was not supposed to have a part 6, but I’m including today’s outing for Covid tests into the whole bundle. The fever and body aches went away within a couple of hours. Sniffles, fatigue, and gastro symptoms lingered. So we’re solidly living with Schrodingers Covid for two days while we wait on results. It probably isn’t. We’re probably over reacting. But we’re still keeping quarantine just in case. Meanwhile we’re eating leftovers and I’m somewhat schlumped with all of my organizational circuits burned out. But all the positive responses to my food photo posts are making me happy. I love having added happy energy to social media and I’m really clinging to the energy that comes back to me. Without further ado: Photos from my Weirdsgiving