You Can't Spell Thanksgiving Day without "Gay"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

For the first time in decades, Gary and I are home for Thanksgiving.

Now, I understand why so many people look forward to Thanksgiving.

You get to sleep in your own bed. You get to wake up in your own house. You get to have your own routine.

For over a decade, Gary and I have tromped to each other's families homes for the holidays, sleeping on shitty mattresses, and eating at the kids' card tables. Worse, we negotiated every single holiday, almost as if we were in NATO.

Who would get Thanksgiving Day, and who would get the doomed Saturday after?

In the beginning, Gary and I tried to be equitable. We even flipped a coin.

"Heads!" Gary yelled, as the coin spun in the air.

"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" I yelled, as the coin bounced and then rolled to a stop on our wood floor.

"We'll see if his mother enjoys celebrating Christmas in February then," my mother told me, when I informed her she would get the wrong-day Thanksgiving. "A Saturday Thanksgiving is like a leper Thanksgiving."

Why do Gary and I perform this intricate holiday tango?

Gay guilt.

We still hold onto the guilt that we are not exactly what our parents wanted. We still bend over backwards to make sure their lives, and, especially, their holidays, are perfect. We sacrifice our own sanity, juggling our worlds and two dogs and hundreds of miles of driving, to gorge and go.

"Just adopt a kid," one of our best friends told me. "It's pretty much the reason I wanted children. It puts a kibosh on all the holiday insanity. Now, we stay for an hour, and bolt. We always have an out: 'Kid's tired. Kid's colicky. Kid wants to watch a DVD at the neighbor's.'"

Finally, this year, Gary and I stood up for ourselves.

We lied.

"We have to work Wednesday and Friday. We can't get away. But we love you."

I'm a writer. Gary's an innkeeper. We're not exactly Henry Paulson. No one really needs us that bad this week.

The end result?

Guilt ended up winning.

Still the same: Three Thanksgivings.

Yes, we felt so guilty about not seeing our families on Thanksgiving, that we spent a leper Thanksgiving with my parents last week, and we will spend a leper Thanksgiving with Gary's parents this weekend. But, at least, this time they are coming here. To our house. And they will eat our food. And we will continue our routine.

And, just for today, we got to wake up late, walk the dogs on our land, watch wild turkey roam the woods, and later this afternoon we will enjoy a wonderful feast with great friends.

My mom called a little while ago. She was watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, a tradition Gary and I have continued. In fact, Gary looks forward to high-kicking with the Rockettes every year.

"We miss you on Thanksgiving Day," she said.

And my heart busted a little.

Right down the middle.

"But I'm sure we'll see you on Christmas."

Ahh, guilt.

It's the holiday gift that keeps on giving.

"Where's a quarter?" I yelled to Gary, after I hung up with my mom.

"Heads!" Gary yelled, as the coin rotated in mid-air.

"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" I screamed, as it hit the floor and then rolled to a stop.

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