I *love* Thanksgiving. It's my favorite holiday of the entire year. My second favorite? Passover... which may as well be Jewish Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving b/c I like sitting down with my family, breaking out the good dishes, breaking out the nice wine glasses, and when I was younger, it was the official gateway to Christmas. As I child, I would marvel at the casserole after casserole of food, the house full of delicious spices and turkey cooking all morning. Yet as my title suggests, Thanksgiving is a complicated holiday for me.
In 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, I went to my highschool's yearly rival football game, meeting up with a bunch of friends from highschool. Afterward, we went to lunch at Chili's. I remember eating a ton of queso dip. That evening, I went out bowling with Ari (my bf at the time, how cute) and my sister and brother-in-law. I bowled an 11 - to date, the absolute worst game I've ever bowled. By that evening, I wasn't feeling too hot: mostly nausea with increasing cramping in my lower left abdomen. The next 72 hours are kind of fuzzy: two ER visits and 1 emergency surgery later on November 27, I was down an ovary and lucky to be alive. I had an ovarian cyst that torsioned around the ovary and caused it to become necrotic. (Yeah, I know- gross, right?) The next few weeks I was home from college recovering, doing work at home and emailing it to my professors. I was left with tiny physical scars, but deeper ones emotionally. I remember struggling with this idea that I felt like a tree with a broken branch, that I was somehow incomplete. I was assured my fertility would remain in tact. Did this contribute to my POF? Probably. But I suppose being around to tell this tale is better than not being here at all.
Two years later, Ari's grandfather passed away the day before Thanksgiving, on November 26. While Ari and I had been (back) together for only about 2 years at this point, I was still very close with his family, and in a lot of ways, when Pop passed, it was like losing my last surviving grandfather (my mom's father died before I was born, and my Ojichan had passed away in 2000, in the earlier part of November). That was a tough Thanksgiving that year. My heart particularly goes out to my Ari's mom this year; this is the first Thanksgiving without either parent, after Nan passed in August.
Thanksgiving is actually on November 26 this year. I can't believe a) it's been 9 years since my surgery and b) it's been 7 years since Pop died. I hate this time of year. But I fucking love Thanksgiving.
This year, we're doing the first combined families Thanksgiving: Ari's family is coming over to my parents' house. My sister and her husband will be joining us for dessert, since they're swinging by my brother-in-law's father's house first. It's going to be a lot of people, a lot of food, and a lot of good times. But it's still hard. This is the first Thanksgiving I'll be putting my surgery in the context of my infertility. Thankfully, I have an appt with my counselor tomorrow night. I'm hoping I can work through some of this there.
Right now, I'm just trying to focus on the food and sharing the time with family, and less on all the baggage I'll have stuffed under the table. Set my sights on the sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and honey mustard for the turkey, less on babies.