It’s a rainy, overcast day. The time is five o’clock; rush hour; cold and unusually dark. It looks and feels like nine o’clock. Small drops still mist onto the windshield, forcing the need to squint through wipers at the red glow of the holiday congestion. Those not coming home from work, drive to a destination for tomorrow—Thanksgiving. The weather is colder than it has been, closing in on the forties; the average being twenty degrees warmer. But it’s always cold come Thanksgiving; from shorts and t-shirts, to pants and jackets; overnight.

The ride home reminds me that, although I have a new family to spend the holiday with, my divorce arrangements leave me without my son . . . every Thanksgiving.

Home at last, the walk up the sidewalk and to the stairs of my condo are marred by overzealous lights decorating the neighbor’s house across the street: dancing icicles along the roof, a wall of bulbs across the garage, glaring lines beside the landscaping, and a twenty foot tree from more conspicuous strands. All but the icicles pulse to the Christmas music blaring from his yard. This spectacle—on display for the past week—continues for another month and screams each night until just after eleven o’clock.

It’s all just another reminder that this time for family is fleeting. A mere blink in the moments we have together; or, in the case of my son, apart. I try to stretch out the time with family and the time to be thankful. I fight off decorating for the next holiday until the current one has passed. But even I’ve succumbed this year.

The jostling of my key in the door causes it to open from my fiancé, eager to greet me. As we hug I see the tree I bought and that we decorated with my son. My compromise to create tradition for a time I normally don’t have him—our family tradition to decorate the day after Thanksgiving.

But this year looks to hold more promise. I jumped the gun with our tree, because improved communication between his mother and I has allowed us to hold true to that tradition. We have him the day after Thanks giving. And as luck would have it, my parents have a tree void of ornaments. It may seem silly or trivial, but I have much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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