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When Your Happy Holidays Aren't That Happy, Try This Quick Fix

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at The NotMom. This is my own story for Thanksgiving 2017

First, I confess to being in a bit of a funk the week before Thanksgiving. Andy and I will share a lazy day with our own traditions: watch the parade and cook a traditional holiday meal for two, including pumpkin pie. What I can't control are unsolicited memories of our house filled to the edges with family and friends celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. It's messing with my holiday joy. Those mental movies, and the fact that those folks are long gone or far away hurts all the time in the background of my life. But, grief shines best during end-of-year holidays..

It's not that I don't have a lengthy list of things to be thankful for this year (and every year). I surely do. And yet.

Pity party for one, please.

A recent post I wrote about a woman who shared her pre-Thanksgiving melancholy with Dear Abby helped me turn my frown upside-down. In the post, I shared my opinion that a commenter gave better advice than Abby in this instance:

"Be grateful for what you have rather than focusing on what you don't have."

Pretty obvious? Yep. But, it works. At least, it did for me.

Let's start by acknowledging that Andy and I were both married before, and divorced before. And we each had mothers who married more than once. Now, for us, we are frankly amazed to be planning for our 25th wedding anniversary in 2018. We have each other. Still. That's Blessing #1.

We used to host more than 15 people every year at the holidays for more than 10 years. We were lucky to have had those years, and those people. Positive memories of them will last our entire lifetimes. Blessing #2

And no small thing, we have our own house, large enough to host more than 15 grown humans. Blessing #3.

Of all those relatives and friends that I miss so much, the ones who meant the most to me lived to see their 80s and 90s. Meaning, I was able to learn from them and be loved by them for a very long time. Blessing #4.

This year, the holiday noise and laughter previously generated by people will be the responsibility of our year-old cat, Frankie (below). He's adorable, but every time

he distinguishes himself with habits and preferences new to us, he reminds us of our beloved Charlie, the brown tabby who died last year at age 15. I know that selecting a pet is hard work, and we've had some very special four-legged roomies. Blessings #5, 6 and 7.

During those long ago holidays, both Andy and I had the energy, time, money and good health to prep, serve and clean up after more than a dozen people. In 2017, I had a health scare that could have been much, much worse. Big ol' Blessing #8.

I took the core of what was depressing me, pulled it apart and flipped the script. Those eight blessings are at the top of a long, long list of reasons for me to be thankful this year, from Thanksgiving straight into the New Year.

If the blues dare to visit you this season, try it, and let us know what happens.

(Photo Credit: Pinterest/

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