As a nurse, Michael has no guarantee of a work-free holiday. Generally, each year we'll decide well in advance (most likely a full year in advance, when the current celebration is fresh in our minds) which holiday(s) Michael will request off and where we will travel - Oregon for my family, or Arizona for Michael's.
The remainder of the holidays will most likely be spent at home, with Michael working in the wee hours of the morning, then coming home to retreat to our room, shrouded in black-out curtains, and sleep until evening. I'll spend the day on my own, leisurely making a dish to take to take to Michael's grandparents' place for dinner and going out for a long walk with Lucy.
This Thanksgiving followed the usual pattern; Michael came home to find me just starting to awake, and I wished him a good night as I heated up a bowl of leftover rice for breakfast. A little later I headed out to get my hair cut, where I was utterly surprised to see my friend Leena getting the finishing touches on a her own haircut. Who would have guessed that she had booked the appointment before mine on Thanksgiving Day, of all days?
It is little things like that that make my holidays at home so dear to me. Left to my own devices, I can relax without feeling guilty (it is a holiday, after all) - watching old movies on Channel 9, napping with the dog on the sofa, and enjoying the ever changing clouds on a beautiful late autumn day in Seattle. The city I live in always seems particularly beautiful on a holiday. Is it just the good will I feel? The sense of peace to have a day to myself, free from any major responsibilities?
These quiet holidays will not last, I'm sure, and perhaps that's part of the reason I treasure them. Some day, other obligations and different schedules will mean an end to my own private Thanksgivings, Easters, and Christmases. For now, I am simply thankful - for family and friends, of course, just as everyone professes this time of year - but also for these quiet times, and the chance to savor life outside the rush of everyday living.