I don’t know about you guys, but I just had the best Thanksgiving ever. It was my first time eating two full dinners in one day. I met Oz’s extended family, and then he came over to my place for Thanksgiving with just my immediate family. Highlights of the evening included being invited over for Christmas (because I showed up to Thanksgiving with wine and flowers), being harassed by his Grandfather when I had some wine (“Watch out Oz, I know how women get when they’ve been drinking…” he said with a laugh), doing dishes and dancing in the kitchen (to Train songs), playing fine crystal glassware with my family (you know, when you get it to sing with your finger tips), saving his arachnophobic cousin from a sneaky spider (it was trying to climb down her neck), having both of Oz’s parents hug me at the same time (while accidently pushing Oz off to the side), and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.
Little did I know the best (and worst ) was yet to come.
Oz and I settled down to digest, talk, and watch some television. And then my fibromyalgia decided to join us. It ripped through my chest and abdomen, they way I imagine something feels when it is struck by lightning. Only this lightning erupted outward, making my chest and abdomen places that cannot be touched, even by the lightest pressure. The pain continued to erupt outwardly from my chest and abdomen like that, while also crawling inside creating pinches and twinges of pain. It makes me pretty nauseous feeling, if you can imagine, which makes taking pain pills difficult because they can increase nausea. Breathing hurts. Standing hurts. Moving hurts.
And I hated having that happen in front of Oz. Not because I am embarrassed or because it would embarrass him, but because I like to be seen as this very strong, bright, unstoppable person. It’s impossible to keep up that image when things that cannot even be seen, predicted, or controlled decide to take over my body and incapacitate me. Had I been able to unclench my jaw and speak, I would have asked Oz to leave. (Not that he would have listened.)
At one point I was able to get up off of the couch, walked away, and decided to lie down on the floor. I closed my eyes, praying for everything to just disappear. Until I felt a hand on mine. I opened my eyes, and Oz was lying on the floor next to me, just holding my hand. All he said was, “I’m here.” If I hadn’t already been crying, that certainly would have made me start.
A little later, Oz coaxed me back onto the couch. He covered me up with the blankets, held my hand and stroked my hair, just waiting for things to get better. In an effort to distract myself, I started thinking of all the things that I was grateful for today. It was the first time that I figured out that I am thankful for my fibromyalgia. And I’m thankful for Oz’s diabetes too. Because if it weren’t for either, we wouldn’t have moments like this. Moments of vulnerable humanity, where I’m not El-Girl-Who-Accomplishes-Everything-With-A-Smile, I’m just El. And he’s not The-Great-And-Powerful-Oz, he’s just Oz (but he is great and powerful without even trying). But I never thought I’d be thankful for fibromyalgia…
After I had that realization, I looked up at Oz. He was asleep, still holding my hand. I propped myself up and gave him a kiss. In his sleep, he smiled.
So because of his smile, my pain, my new-found gratitude, his extended family, two turkey dinners, and far too many desserts to count, it was the Best Thanksgiving Ever. I asked Oz if we could make it a tradition and he said yes. So it was the the Best Thanksgiving Ever, year 1.