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SOMETIMES YOU'VE GOT TO GO

Cindy Maddera

A few months back, my friend Heather sent me a text mentioning that she had her company cabin for Thanksgiving. Some of you might remember the last time I went to the cabin with Heather. I might have mentioned it here, but the cabin is in the tiny town of Inverness, CA. It sits high up on a hill surrounded by trees and the windows face Tomales Bay. I told Heather that if we weren’t tightening our belts and paying off debts, I’d invite us to tag along. Her reply was “it’s not until November.” She had a point. I cashed in some frequent flyer miles and we sold some stuff on Craig’s List. We bought plane tickets and rented a car and crashed her Thanksgiving.

And I’m so glad we did.

Michelle, who you might remember from that time I was a bearded lady and she was one half of the first ever interracially conjoined twins, flew up from San Diego. Heather’s friends, Maria and Mateo, flew in from Arizona. We’d never met, but I had heard some stories. Maria and Mateo ended up riding in the backseat of our rental car every where we went. I got so used to the two of them sitting behind us that I felt like we’d forgotten something when we left the cabin early Saturday morning. Instead of a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving, we ate Dungeness crab. In fact, we ate Dungeness crab for almost all meals. Turns out that six pounds of already picked crab meat feeds a party of six for two days. Just an fyi if you ever find yourself needing to place an order for picked crab meat and you order a pound per person, the person taking your order is going to scoff at you. You will ignore the scoffing and order that amount any way. Be prepared for the leftovers.

Instead of spending the holiday with family, we spent it with people we didn’t really know. I felt a bit of guilt over this. I claimed Michelle as part of our tribe the moment I met her three years ago. After spending five minutes with Maria and Mateo, I felt the same way about them. I even feel a little sad that they live so far away and are unavailable for random rides in the backseat of my car. So that guilt quickly dissipated when I realized that I was spending time with family. I was spending time with the family I have made for myself. We ate. We drank. We hiked to a beach. We played games and told stories. Mostly we laughed. Good lord, we laughed so dang much. I am very very fortunate.

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to go to a little cabin in the wood with no TV and very spotty cell signal. Make sure the cabin is filled with good people and a nice roaring fire. Be sure to spend some of that time on long walks and part of that time watching the rain. Laugh and memorize every silly ridiculous moment.

This is self care.