Yesterday was a great Thanksgiving at our house...Rob's house.
We were just my mother, my daughter Nina, my son Jordan, and me.
Four of us.
Rob flew to Mexico yesterday morning to record a new album for the Mexico Jazz Festival held in Playa Del Carmen.
He'll be working with famous world class musicians all weekend.
My daughter Ava made her own Thanksgiving or as she calls it "Friendsgiving" for her fiancee and friends.
She called me from the grocery store and wanted help with the making of the turkey, which made me feel loved and appreciated because she said she wanted to do it the way I do it.
I wish she had come home but she's healing her wounds of her earlier life in her own way and I just want her to be happy, so, good enough as is.
We did the whole thing at Rob's house.
We stuffed the turkey, we made the pies, we did it all.
And afterwards when we were doing the massive number of dishes from a four person dinner in Rob's little house, Nina put on her favorite Christmas classics dance playlist.
My Mom got out on the living room dance floor with Nina and me and we all danced to Mariah Carey's fantastic Christmas classic.
Jordan gave up on being too cool at some point and started dancing too.
All four of us dancing in the living room and my Mom yelling, "turn it up!" to Nina who was manning the little Marshall speaker we use to blast people's phone music.
Why are we dancing this year like we haven't done in twenty years?
Honestly, the last time we all got up and danced, I'm sure Nina was still a little girl.
We've been through a lot.
I remember after I moved out of their father's house it snowed so much that winter and I said out loud, or to myself, or both, that our family had fallen under a curse and we were now in an endless winter like Narnia.
It was a terrible long spell we were under.
Maybe it was me doing penance for leaving their father and breaking up my family.
Maybe it was my mother doing penance for ruining her son.
Maybe it was the punishment to my mother and I rejecting my father's pleas to return to his family and have us all back together again.
Maybe it was my brother's madness and suffering, out in the world alone, that cast a pall over us.
Last year, right around now, my mother got the call from the hospice center for indigent people in California saying that her son was dead.
His birthday is December fifth.
We found out that my father was dead a few years ago.
We found out that he had remarried and I found out who the woman was and called her.
She was very patient and kind and she told me that my father had never said he had any children at all.
I don't blame him, I really don't.
With my father dead and now my brother dead, there is no option but to live each day with immense gratitude.
I don't know why I think that way about it but I do.
I am no longer in mourning.
I mourned for ten years or more.
I mourned and I was afraid.
I felt guilty, I felt responsible, I felt marked, and I felt bad.
I hated my mother because to me it appeared that she was selfish and that she did nothing in the face of all this suffering.
Suffering that she had caused.
Now I don't know.
She was just steering her little boat, trying to keep it from crashing on the rocks.
What else could she do?
Last night I was so proud of her.
She's eighty-five years old.
She looks great and she was dancing so cute, so great.
She goes to her exercise class, she drives around in her silver Lexus.
My Mom became a mammographer and did that difficult job for twenty-five years after her divorce.
She has earned her freedom.
I am the one who can bestow it upon her now by forgiving her everything and allowing her to participate in my joy with my children and me.
She loves Rob, she thinks he's a hero.
She loves my kids.
She's still kind of withholding to me, but whatever.
Seeing her dancing was a great gift for me yesterday.
Seeing my mom dancing with my kids and me was the greatest gift of all.
Thankful doesn't even cover it.
We are out of the woods.
We are out of Narnia and the Sun is finally shining.
The curse is broken, the spell is lifted, the era of darkness has come to a close.
We are finally free.