Milestone celebrations are hard. Like a lot of women I'm a this-time-last-year kind of person. Men aren't and this difference is the source of friction between the sexes, as I'm sure you know. So here we are at another milestone: Thanksgiving in Canada. In the States it's Columbus Day, when credit is given to Christopher Columbus for discovering the new world two centuries after Leif the Lucky. See, I go further than this time last year.
I digress, deliberately. I always get a bit depressed at any milestone event, remembering better times and feeling a little self-pity, so it's good to have a distraction. But this one is different. Long ago, a Thanksgiving event was so difficult that I had trouble being thankful. My son Matthew, challenged from birth (my obstetrician had me on amphetamines during my pregnancy which damaged the placenta, and the baby), was in a special residential school being looked after, I thought, by responsible, caring people. They wouldn't let Matt come home for Thanksgiving, saying he was too upset to leave. At that time his siblings were at schools too far-flung to get home; my late husband had been gone for over six years; my widowed mother was still in Winnipeg. So I drove to Matt's school and was allowed to take him out for T-dinner, which turned out to be a bucket for two from KFC. Neither of us ate much. Matt dozed in the back set and I worried in the front seat, missing the driver.
I didn't know at the time that they (the good, kind director of the school and his resident physician) had Matt on a tonne of Valium to keep him tamped down and behaving - conforming. He developed a drug-induced psychosis. A week later they checked him into the Clarke (Psychiatric) Institute with the recommendation that I lock his door and throw away the room. Well, his recovery is another story. (The Book of Matthew, Key Porter Books, 1984) and I am pleased to say Matt is alive and well and independent and he's coming for dinner tomorrow.
I am fortunate, I know it. I am truly blessed, that, too. And I am thankful, every day.