"Wanna Get Away?"

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Around this time each year, I reflect on a momentary lapse of judgment I had (still unable to determine if it was good or bad) as I was driving to a clients home for an appointment.  A few years ago I was driving on 294 N. toward a potential clients home.  In the mid-day traffic, moving no where fast, I found myself gazing at the endless planes taking flight.  The idea of where the travelers were going compared to where I was ignited a burning thought that would not go away.

The night before I had burnt the holiday pie crust, dismantled the smoke detector to save my sanity and had an argument with my children for cleaning their rooms for our guests.  I was not in the best of the moods.

Additionally some estranged family members were to be present at the Thanksgiving feast. This evoked a tremendous amount of anxiety in me that spilled over into my interactions with my husband, my temper with my children and my overall mood about the weeks upcoming events.

So, on 294 with an airport in sight that signifies distance, change and freedom I had a fantasy.  I thought about how much time my appointment would take, how much longer my work day was and when my family would be expecting me home.  Calculating the “available” time, I fantasized exiting towards O’Hare, leaving my car in long term parking, gathering only my purse and finding a flight ANYWHERE, even if that meant travelling by stand-by.  I determined how far I could go, how long it would take to get there and how soon it would be before my family noticed that I was gone.

Could such an escape be possible?  You hear about it in songs, you watch it in “inspirational” movies and may have even considered it yourself.  You may not want to admit it to yourself, to your family or your friends… but your secret is safe with me!  I promise.

The reality is, we desperately want this time of year to be “idealistic” like a Norman Rockwell painting, but it is not possible.  Families fight, children whine over the green bean casserole, pies burn, cookies turn out like shit, the house is never clean enough for our standards and the overwhelming stress of reaching perfection drives us to displace our frustration on those we should be the most thankful for.

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Image Courtesy of Freedigitalphotos.net

Our sense of obligation to create an unforgettable holiday becomes a self fulfilling proficiency as we drive our family to their rooms in anger, find ourselves screaming at the top of our lungs because the bathroom is still not clean and then run around like a chicken with our head cut off as we cater to our guests, never really having enough time to connect, laugh and create memories.

With all this being said, have I now just talked you into considering a trip to O’Hare yourself?  Wanna Get Away?  I thought so.

But don’t let my rant and expression of truth through absolute vulnerability get in your way.  I am sure you have found yourself in this sloppy, sweaty, stressful situation we call the holidays.  We want so much each year.  We yearn to make the present traditions remarkable and yet make ourselves crazy in the process.  

My friend is hosting a “Friends-giving” this year.  A new twist on the old tradition of celebrating those who bring joy to our lives.  It has inspired me to do the same.  So yesterday my daughter had her closest friends over for a sleepover, pizza, chips and cookies.  They watched movies, sang songs, and laughed at their inside jokes.  Together

My daughter and her friends at Friends-giving

My daughter and her friends at Friends-giving

we all played Bean-Boozled after breakfast.  In our P.J.s with little regard to the state of the house we laughed until we cried and spit out horrible tasting jelly beans in disgust.  It was not the Norman Rockwell image of Thanksgiving, but it encompassed more of the essence of what Thanksgiving really is compared to any other turkey day I have ever hosted.

With that being said, I get it if you feel like you really want to get away from it all, especially at this time of year.  I feel your pain, your frustration and the hoarseness in your voice as you scream at your family who won’t lift a finger to make you idealistic party come to fruition.  It is probably too late to encourage you to forgo the turkey, order pizzas and give up on the cleanliness of your home… but it is not too late to laugh at ourselves as we try so hard to create the impossible.

So, when you have a minute and can lock yourself in the bathroom this week, take time  to fantasize a lone trip to O’Hare.  Do the calculations, encompass yourself in the feeling that you could be free, if only for a few hours… before they find you and drag you back home.  And remember, you are not alone!




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