Single on Thanksgiving?

by singlemomseeking on November 10, 2009

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I officially became a single mom on Thanksgiving. Looking back, I should have seen the signs.

He was drinking more — and we weren’t sleeping together. Just before Thanksgiving, he’d told me he wouldn’t be coming with us to my Aunt Marge‘s home, where we’d planned to spend the holiday. Instead, he wanted to stay in New York with his sisters for the holiday, something he hadn’t done for more than a decade.

He was probably planning his big exit. He was probably mapping out the details to catch a plane.

We’d been having a rough time together –I was your classic codependent — I’d thought that a couple of days apart would do us good.

He brought us — our baby and me — to the train, gave us each a quick peck on the cheek, and stepped away just as the doors were closing. That was the last time my daughter and I saw him.

Let’s just say that the next few Thanksgivings weren’t easy. I can feel the heaviness of November right now — although I remind myself that every year has gotten easier.


I’d love to know: how are you celebrating Thanksgiving this month?

Will you have your kids this holiday? If not, what’s your solo plan?

I’m going to randomly pick two comments and give away two copies of my book, Single Mom Seeking.


P.S. Thanks SO much to Sondra at Happy Healthy Hip Parenting for the very sweet feature about my book on her blog this week!

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Martini Mom November 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm

My son will be with his dad for Thanksgiving this year (and I’ll get Christmas – Yay!), and The Man will be flying back to Dallas to spend the holiday with his girls. So it’ll just be me and my mom (who’s also a single mom). Growing up, it was often just my mom and I on Thanksgiving, so it seemed silly to make a big meal. Sometimes we would invite over all the “orphans,” as my mom called them – people she knew who were alone and away from family on the holiday – and have a feast together. Other years, she would arrange for us to volunteer at a soup kitchen or half-way house for the day, preparing and serving meals to people truly in need.

I was prepared for the first Christmas I spent without my son to be awful, but my mom – ever wise, that one – jumped in and arranged a volunteer day. She and I (and two other volunteers) prepared and served a Christmas breakfast and a Christmas lunch at a homeless shelter. It was a truly moving experience, and put everything in perspective. Sure, I missed my boy that day, but these people were truly alone. Every day. Always.

It saved my Christmas that year. I highly recommend it – an excellent way to take something (or someone) sad and make it beautiful.
.-= Martini Mom´s last blog ..You’re welcome, Apple =-.


Gabi November 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I feel for you…but to be honest…I’m on the completely other end…wishing over and over my ex would have just abandoned us instead of always causing problem and never being their when our kids need him. People say that children need their father…but is that true when all they learn from their father is that they are NOT a priority in life and to never count on him?

Just once I’d love to have a holiday with my children and not have to deal with him of his wishywashy (I might see them and I might not) crap.

.-= Gabi´s last blog ..H1N1 10/23/09 =-.


Crystal November 11, 2009 at 12:26 pm

I will be with my Mom’s side of the family at parent’s house (across the street) Heavy traffic! LOL Dinner will be at 2:00. Last night my brother and I talked about throwing a party that night for friends at my house to watch the Texas A&M and Texas Football Game! Family Rivalry as he is the Longhorn and I am the Aggie! In any case, I will be surrounded by family and loved ones! My five yr old Austin and I have plenty to be thankful for. We just moved into our new home in September and out of my parents house!!


wandamd November 11, 2009 at 11:17 am

My daughter’s Daddy always takes her for 10 days over Thanksgiving to Boston for his family. We never married, remained good friends and live close by but I stopped going there a couple years ago. This year I was invited to go and am really looking forward to spending it with a big family AND my daughter (last year without her was horrible).


Deb November 11, 2009 at 10:47 am

My husband was an alcoholic for the last 6 years of our marriage. We have 2 girls together – 9 & 5. Because of his alcoholism, in a drunken stuper, he fell down the stairs of our back porch, hit his head and died of a brain injury 15 months ago. I don’t remember last Thanksgiving. I do know my family came over and fixed dinner. I was still in a fog of losing my husband of 11 years. Now that the fog has lifted, I am still sad at the loss of his life, but can I say that I am so happy that my girls do not have to grow up around him. This Thanksgiving I am making dinner for our family and friends. This year I am thankful for the peace, happiness and love that lives in my home. It was missing way too long.


singlemomseeking November 11, 2009 at 12:24 pm

@Deb: Thank you for your honest, open comment. A big hug to you… and believe me, I understand the grief mixed with relief. Here’s to a Thanksgiving filled with LOVE!!


Deb November 13, 2009 at 7:17 am

“Grief mixed with relief” Never heard it put like that before, but it sums up me in a nutshell.
Thank you!

Crystal November 11, 2009 at 12:28 pm

Bless your heart dear. Enjoy your family this year and I know you are thankful for them.


Susan November 11, 2009 at 8:56 am

Hi! We either go to my parent’s or brother’s or I cook..We haven’t even decided yet this year, my husband just moved out last week 10-31-09, because he decided he didn’t want to try for a baby anymore and I did (together 9 years, married 3 1/2)…so it will be a hard one..Thank God for my 12 year old, she is the best thing I ever did. Happy Thanksgiving!


Nicki November 11, 2009 at 4:35 am

We started anew tradition last year, the first year that I was single for Thanksgiving. The kids have embraced it wholeheartedly. The weekend before the big day, since their father takes them out of town for the actual holiday, I make a big Thanksgiving meal…from scratch, complete with all the fixings. (If I thought I could do any better than Butterball, I’d probably raise and pluck my own bird, too.)
We invite everyone we love and cherish to join us, since we have no family at all in Charlotte, NC. We wholeheartedly believe that friends are family you choose for yourself. And with that said, it also means that we get to spend quality time with people who we wouldn’t otherwise get to see.
As for the actual day, when I have no kids and the entire day off…I’m still working that out. But it will be good, I’m sure.
.-= Nicki´s last blog ..March of Dimes…Premie Awareness Month… =-.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Wow, Heather, what an incredible story.

Your comment is truly inspirational. Thank you.


Heather November 10, 2009 at 11:28 pm

For Year the holidays where hard fro me. My ex-husband and I split just before the holidays many years ago. We had no children. I took it every hard and for many years I didn’t want to do holidays. Holidays where a day for me to hide and only come out if I had too. Then in 2005 I adopted a little girl. She came to visit my home for the very first time on Thanksgiving 2005. She was 9 months. From that point on I stop hiding and started living again. We don’t spend our holidays with true family since most live in different states. We spend our holidays with friends who have become our family. You don’t get to chose who your family are but you get to chose friends that become family.


kriz bell November 10, 2009 at 10:08 pm

i sooooo have heavy holiday issues- not only is my birthday the day after X-mas, but suffice it to say one of the WORST things that can happen, happened to me on my 13th birthday- so not only do i STILL feel like my birthday is a burden, but i have all this secret shame too- it’s taken me 26 years to find this piece that i meditate to every morning, night and as needed…

If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it, now. Imagine a new story for your life and believe in it. Focus only on the moments when you achieved what you desired, and that strength will help you to get what you want. ~ Paulo Coelho from THE FIFTH MOUNTAIN. in fact i will be blogging about this. it’s really helped me to be able to start to GET OVER IT. because frankly after all these years, my heavy heart has not managed to change a dig-dang thing!

and for Thanksgiving, drum roll please, i am doing something i said i would never do…international travel with my family! both my parents, my brother & sister-in-law and their 3 boys (ages 11 to 6) are taking my 4 year old daughter and I to Playa del Carmen. wow. it’s definitely going to be National Lampoon’s goes to Cancun. of course i am the odd single bird out and that has not gone unnoticed, but hey- it’s about the love, right?
.-= kriz bell´s last blog ..11 =-.


MindyMom/Single Mom Says... November 10, 2009 at 6:55 pm

My older kids are ALWAYS with their dad for T-giving (and I always have X-mas). In the years before I had my fourth child I was usually a guest at someone else’s home. One year I had the flu and missed it completely. Since having LO I have still been invited to friend’s homes but last year I cooked for myself and my then-boyfriend and it was just the three of us and very nice. This year I have no clue yet!
.-= MindyMom/Single Mom Says…´s last blog ..A Bar Full of Opportunity =-.


Nich November 10, 2009 at 5:42 pm

My son and I will be at my parents on Thanksgiving. The holidays lways have been hard for me my ex has been gone for ten years and it has been my son and I, it has been difficult. Now he is a teen and doing more with friends, I have made a point to have a few things for us to do, ie outings, going to family and volunteer with our church, but it gets lonely when you want to have a date or not go solo to a holiday event. I have things lined up that are festive with girlfriends, but the lack of male companionship is discouraging.
well enough for now, thanks for letting me share.


Anna November 10, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Tomorrow is the anniversary of my divorce being final, so I hear ya with the feelings of the season. I am without my boy this Thanksgiving, unless the boy’s dad breaks cancels for the 3rd time in a row (hasn’t seen the boy since June). Now, whether the boy is with me or not, we meet my parents in WV for the weekend, have a wonderful buffet meal (and no one has to cook or clean). We also visit the Coldwater Creek outlet there, and are planning to visit the Fiesta Ware place too. Bittersweet.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm

@Anna: I love your plan! No cooking, no cleaning… and shopping for some special things just for YOU. How great.


MC November 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm

Wow, Rachel, that’s awful. What a jerk (sorry I have to say that–it’s so true. Of all the ways to break up, guys who take the coward’s way out are the worst in my book…!).

I go to my sister’s every Thanksgiving, but I can only bring my kids every other Thanksgiving because they’re with their Dad other times. My brother and his family and also various other relatives who may be in the Midwest also usually also come. This year I don’t have my kids so it will be somewhat bittersweet again.

Also, I can’t help it—I feel like my sister likes to kind of flaunt her “functional, intact model family” a little bit for this holiday. She’s super traditional with the meal, what we do afterwards, when we eat, and who comes. Also, she has absolutely refused to *ever* consider letting me have the family get together at my own house for Thanksgiving! We live near each other and we’re both in our late 40’s, and she’s held the family party at her house for at least 20 years! So I do think she could “share” just once, but oh well. So while Thanksgiving at her house is fun and family-ish and all, I do feel a little bit on edge because of these things.

I’ve asked my Patrick Swayze lookalike guy if he would come with me this year, but understandably he feels like he needs to check with his grown kids for their plans first. *sigh*

I guess the holidays are always “charged” with at least some baggage for everyone.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 5:18 pm

@MC: I’m rooting for your Patrick Swayze lookalike guy to join you. Yeah!


bad mummy November 10, 2009 at 2:26 pm

Canadian Thanksgiving was last month, but I spent it with friends since my family’s never been big on the holiday and kidlet was with her dad.

But I do spend a good part of November trying to fight off the memories of the shit that went down in November 2006, that led to me leaving my now-Ex. Makes for a tense, unhappy month.
.-= bad mummy´s last blog ..Grace in Small Things =-.


T November 10, 2009 at 2:14 pm

Rascal, his mother and one of his sons are coming to spend Thanksgiving with me and my family. It’ll be the first time his mother meets my mother, sister, and family. We’re very excited!

Glad that this Thanksgiving will be so much better for you! (Can’t wait to read all about it!)
.-= T´s last blog ..A great weekend and its lingering effects =-.


StudentMama November 10, 2009 at 1:42 pm

This is our first holiday “alone”. However, it’s not that’s different. My now-ex has always worked on the holidays (he is a chef). We are used to doing family events alone or a small celebration on a different day.

Quite honestly, it has made me realize how lonely I was during my marriage and how I want to create new traditions with my daughter than signify what TRUE holidays should look like. Family, loved ones, and spending it together!
.-= StudentMama´s last blog ..The day reality sought punishment =-.


Susan November 10, 2009 at 1:07 pm

My dtr’s dad and I have always shared the holiday. Whoever gets T’giving day the other person gets the rest of the wkend. Then that parent has T’giving on Friday. It’s worked pretty well. This year thank God, it’s my turn to have her on Thursday so she and my son will be with me and I’ll cook which I love to do. I decorate my house with all my Thanksgiving decorations; I have lots of little turkeys, and buy the kids chocolate turkeys from See’s which I’ve done every year since they were little. I love this day.


Jamie November 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm

Wow that is a sad story no wonder it is hard for you! That must have been a tough Christmas that year as well….. I am up here in Canada so we’ve already been there done that and I did it at my mom’s with family the girls were at their mom’s and sadly (poor me) got sick with a flu a couple hours before the big meal !!!


BigLittleWolf November 10, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Holidays are always a bit of a challenge. One of the few times when we are at times apart. This year, I will have both my kids for Christmas, but not Thanksgiving. So it will be a simple day, a traditional meal I enjoy cooking, and reflecting on the essentials that matter. Healthy kids.
.-= BigLittleWolf´s last blog ..Dear Family of Strangers Connecting =-.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 12:53 pm

My Aunt Marge just sent an email to me to urge me that it’s “time to put that away” — as in these sad memories.

Yes, I know. But I also know that many parents are alone this holiday season for the first time — and that’s so intense. If you’re among them, I hope to hear from you.

I’m working on a post about my own Thanksgiving plans… stay tuned!


SDMktg November 10, 2009 at 12:32 pm

My kiddos will be with their mom for Thanksgiving. Most of my family will be doing their own thing and I’ll be spending the holiday with my girlfriend. Of course I will miss them terribly. I always used to do all of the cooking though so sometimes it’s nice to be able to enjoy someone else’s food. It definitely does get easier and I have much to be thankful for.
.-= SDMktg´s last blog ..Attack of the Show – Olivia Munn FG-900 =-.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 12:51 pm

@SDMktg: Is this your first Thanksgiving without your kids? I hope you and your girlfriend are planning something very special!


SDMktg November 10, 2009 at 4:37 pm

The first year of separation was actually my first Thanksgiving without them. I was sad but I spent the day watching my friends’ family drama and I was glad I could just eat and go home. This will be the third time without them. 🙁

I’m not sure what my plans are for this year but it will definitely be nice to be with someone special.

Legal Editor Mom November 10, 2009 at 11:57 am

Mini Me and I will spend Thanksgiving day with my mom and stepdad as we do every year, then we’re getting on the road for the rest of the weekend to visit my aunt and uncle in Ohio. This will be my first Thanksgiving since my dad passed and I’m feeling it already. I used to take food to him and spend time with him every year, every holiday, and I miss that dearly!


Samantha November 10, 2009 at 11:47 am

My co-dependancy started with my parents, so we are breaking away from them for this holiday and making our own plan. I’ve invited a few friends of mine over and we are dividing up the holiday foods to make. We are forging our own healthy families and looking forward to time with these new but important relationships.
.-= Samantha´s last blog ..It all feels so hard =-.


Restless Mama November 10, 2009 at 11:27 am

Wow that is heavy. I’m so sorry. Thanksgiving and Christmas have been highlights for me the past three years because they were spent with my cousin and her family and her husband’s family – who are Irish which means they’re loud and full of love. This year will be a little hard for me only because my son and I no longer live near that family. We’ll be spending it with family but it won’t be the same. No football games, singing, turkey sandwiches right after you’ve eaten the big meal and dessert, and the big love that they have for everyone. Instead it will be with a bit of a broken family – not excited at all but we’ll make the best of it.
Cheers to a hopefully loving Thanksgiving.
.-= Restless Mama´s last blog ..Follow the Friday Brick Road……. =-.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 12:06 pm

@Restless Mama: It was heavy at the time. But really, time does heal — and make us stronger, doesn’t it? But hey, it sounds like you can make Thanksgiving exactly how you imagine it. Why don’t you bring the football, singing and dessert… with new friends?


Cat November 10, 2009 at 11:24 am

I don’t mind the holidays (fewer houses to visit), but my old anniversary falls on the 13th, which seems more like what you’re talking about. 11/13 (anniversary) and 4/3 (day he tried to kill me) kinda suck for me.
.-= Cat´s last blog ..Friday Fragments =-.


Honey November 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

Jake and I are going to rural Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with his grandparents…which we are doing to avoid going there for Christmas because Jake’s mom and brother will be there then, and we’re not on speaking terms with them.
.-= Honey´s last blog ..A Typical Date With Lance and Why Intimacy Matters on First Dates =-.


Desiree November 10, 2009 at 10:51 am

My kids and I will have Thanksgiving with my parents – something we haven’t done in several years! My aunt and uncle that live in VA will be here, too, with their adult children. I’m looking forward to my kids knowing more family that they wouldn’t have otherwise known.
.-= Desiree´s last blog ..In my former life =-.


singlemomseeking November 10, 2009 at 12:50 pm

@Desiree: your parents must be SO excited!


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