So I’m battling the early-Winter illness that comes with having 2 kids in school, as their classmates all contribute to the weekly SnotLuck pool. I rarely get sick, so when I do I just turn into a grump from 9pm to 5:30am, especially if I can’t sleep. I usually try to sleep in that timebox, but if I have a hack and the meds aren’t doing their JOB LIKE I PAY THEM TO DO, well I’m as pleasant as an boily-ass-rash on a sweaty August roadtrip.
Last Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, I was that kind of sick. Head full of stuff, throat on fire, and my body was grinding out a cagefight against whatever was trying to get me. Battery at about 10%. I was miserable and probably contagious. So I didn’t go to Thanksgiving dinner with my wife and kids. Also, it was an event that didn’t interest me in the least.
In reality, there was nothing about the day, the food, or the holiday that excited me. I’m thankful, daily and deeply, for the things closest and most-real to my life. I have many blessings seen and unseen. The food being served didn’t make me think “I can’t miss that.” I can get that type of meal any time. I dreaded the thought of feeling over-fed. The invitee list grew from 6 to 10 to 15, which is exponential growth when you have a low-grade Social Anxiety like I do; 15 people might as well be 2 people standing 1 foot from my face and asking me about my political affiliations. The gravy on that potato pile is, of course, being sick and not wanting to do anything other than not feel like a pile of gravy-coated potatoes. And it also gave me time to think… always dangerous…
The past 3 months have put my mind into a very defined space of “Is this worth the time?” Or as Adam Carolla says, when deciding on a project, “Does it make me money or does it make me happy?” If neither, then move on. When it comes to my kids, 95% of the time I am all-in as we have new experiences, or they grow into an activity, and we build our bonds as a family. 5% of the time – like a parent not doing jack shit and no-braining a party to Chuck E Cheese on a Sunday – I’m vocal about not wanting to be part of the event.
Attending everything without question and showing up with a smile on your face is akin to having no boundaries, no respect for your own time and energy, and also subconsciously telling the invitee that having a mistimed, mismanaged, run-of-the-mill party poses no problem at all. If I attend your party with a gourmet buffet, swag bags from Michael Kors, and live music from Brandi Carlile, I would be endlessly thankful and impressed. But in turn, if I have a no-host bar & food event at Karl’s Kraut Schack with my polka band, and get pissed that you don’t show up, it’s because I’m a bit of an asshole. We don’t have to reciprocate, dollar for dollar, in planning events. But I shouldn’t have the expectation that every evite sent will get an enthusiastic OH HELL YES reply.
From the report of my oldest son, the day went like this:
“There wasn’t a lot of good food there.”
“It was really loud. They put on a movie for us but we couldn’t hear it because the adults were so loud.”
“We got to watch some Minecraft stuff that was cool.”
Sounds like the kind of day I’ve had a hundred times, and don’t need another one of. Laying on the couch, sipping bone broth vs. Loud people missing the meaning of the day? I give thanks I missed it.