Does It Make You Sad?

We had a quiet Thanksgiving this year. We had a yummy dinner of German food (Schweinemedallions, sweet and sour braised red cabbage, red Chard, and roasted potatoes), just the two of us. We had an afternoon of wine, cheese, and board games at my mom's with my sister and her husband on Saturday. Wednesday night we did a spontaneous thing -- I was in sweatpants all day since I just had PT, and was lying on the couch when Bryce said, "Let's get dressed up a bit, after dinner we're going to go have drinks at a bar." So we went to one of our favorite restaurants that's less than 5 minutes away and sat at the bar and chatted with each other and the waitstaff, and it was out-of-the-ordinary fun. 

But then, on Thanksgiving itself, Bryce asked, "Does it make you sad? That your friends have tons of family and they have the big traditional dinner and we are" 

Once upon a time it would have. But now? Nope, not sad. I didn't have FOMO, I had that lovely JOMO (Joy of Missing Out), because it is a lot to host a big Thanksgiving and that sounded very stressful to me. I liked our quiet pajama'd Thanksgiving. It doesn't make me feel sad. 

Another "does it make you feel sad?" moment came on Sunday, when I talked with Bryce's mom. She has a grandson, who is Bryce's stepbrother's son, and his arrival coincided pretty right on top of our ending adoption. It's been rough early on, and I will admit it was really hard to see this cute toddler and then 4-5 year old doing all the things we'd hoped our own child would do when visiting in Maine through social media photos. But we wanted Bryce's mom to embrace this unexpected Grandma-dom, and get joy from it (which she does).

When I talked with her, she was saying how the little boy has a LOT of energy and needs some active things to do both inside and outside, and I had a whole bunch of recommendations for places to get toys that involve building, and bouncing, and building so you can shoot marbles down your own design, and stuff like that. And she said, "I'm so sorry, I never know if it's okay to talk about {the boy} with you, because I don't want to make you feel sad." And I realized -- I liked talking about fun toy solutions and ways to keep him busy, appropriately. It didn't make me sad. 

Now, I would not want to be at a Christmas thing and do presents and have the experience we never had in our face. But, I can recommend activities. I can talk about him and what he likes. 

So, it was lovely to have two situations where a few years ago I would have been sad, and now, I'm not. Do I still have the grief of not having the children and family that we wanted? Of course. But it's not front and center. It's surrounded by a whole lot of appreciation for the life we do have. 

Mmmm, German food feast

Enjoying a pre-dinner power outage, reading by fairy lights and fading window light. SOOO glad we didn't have things in the oven yet. 


  1. Mmmmm, your dinner looks delicious! And this is a lovely post. I'm glad your MIL expressed her misgivings about whether to raise things with you, and I'm glad you were not sad by being able to help and give suggestions. You've also articulated some things for me that I've been thinking about because of a particular situation. It's the difference between being able to choose how to be involved, and how much, or having something "in your face."

  2. This is awesome. And your meal looks delicious!!

    I've embraced my small, quiet holidays. I still cook the traditional Thanksgiving meal, filling my house with comforting smells and making way too much food. (But leftovers are one of my favorite parts!) I still put up a tree, ornaments, lights, and stocking the weekend following Thanksgiving. I buy myself little presents throughout the year, forget what they are, wrap them, and put them under the tree for myself. These are the things I enjoy. They don't make me sad.

    Also, now that I work in a hospital which is open 24/7, I specifically request to work Xmas morning. I love the buildup of the holiday season but not the actual morning. Going into work and helping people who don't feel well are how I prefer to spend my Xmas mornings now.

    It's a miracle that we all find joy again and what works for us.

  3. That

    What I get from your posts that share with us the ins and outs of your healing process is that you have been feeling the losses and also noticing the gains from the paths not taken. When we can do that, as you demonstrate, FOMO can morph into JOMO because what is and what wasn't are neither wholly good or wholly bad. I love how you share your process of integrating the two (what is and what wasn't).