The older you get the more complicated the holidays become.
When I was a young child I couldn’t wait to grow up and graduate from the “kids table,” sitting in its hiding place for family Thanksgiving dinner.
Not only was the “grownup table” made of actual wood rather than colored plastic with Fisher Price stamped on the side but it sat in the fancy dining room rather than the regular old kitchen.
When I finally hit mid-teens and was allowed to move up in stature I spent my first few holidays in a haze of self-congratulatory pomp, cushy chairs and actual elbowroom.
But being an adult, especially around the holidays, when stress and tensions run higher than usual, it isn’t the glamorous cakewalk it looked like from the other side.
Now conversations turn to the future as much as they do the past and it just doesn’t always seem as rosy.
Lessons I’ve learned include being grateful for health, goodwill and freedom, and graciously putting on a happy face while standing on the brink of change; even if it means families moving across the country, or even world, for love. Change like that is always bittersweet but as people grow their worlds can be expected to grow too.
No family is perfect and each one has its dysfunctional quirks that because they’re so glaringly opposite of what a holiday is painted as seem all the more offensive during the holidays.
Being an adult at Thanksgiving means noticing two sisters excitedly plan their Black Friday adventure while the third pretends not to hear and painstakingly focuses her attention anywhere else because she can’t go.
Being an adult means having to bite your tongue when a cousin’s “less than liked” boyfriend turns masochistic over dish-washing culture because adults can refrain from making a scene and treat someone with respect, even if they don’t deserve it.
But being an adult at Thanksgiving also means watching the light in someone’s eyes as they think about their future children possibly growing up in Australia. It means being equal enough to lift someone’s spirits when they’re feeling low over what’s really under that missed shopping trip and it means knowing enough to respect a person’s life and partner choices — even if he acts more like a turkey than the bird did.
The world was never meant to be black and white and the good without the bad wouldn’t be nearly as special or appreciated.
Amelia Naismith is the new reporter for the Leduc/Wetaskiwin Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.