Usually, I visit my parents in Florida for Thanksgiving. This year is the first time in many, many years that I'm not taking the trip south for Turkey Day. And, 4 days before the day, the guilt is starting to set in.
My parents moved to Florida 17 years ago. For some strange reason, when they first migrated south, we stopped having family gatherings for Thanksgiving. I have no idea why. There is a weird thing where my parents don't like to ask me to come down. They have a curious idea that if I came to visit in response to a request from them and something happened, they would feel responsible. So they never ask me, outright, to come for a visit. They hint, they ask "when are you coming to visit" but they never ask me to come down at a specific time. So, maybe that's why they didn't ask me to come down for Thanksgiving those first few years after they flew South.
After a couple of years of NOT being with family and hating it, I initiated my annual Thanksgiving visit. Ever since then, we've had a nice family gathering, with my sister, my aunt (while she was still alive) and my cousins. Due to mom's health issues, we stopped having a cooked dinner at home and found a restaurant that we go to every year. It became a regular tradition for us.
This year, we had our family gathering two weeks before Thanksgiving. It was a great gathering, in honor of Mom's birthday. But, it was just two weeks before Thanksgiving and I decided to not make a second trip down. At the time, it just seemed to be a hard thing to do...come home, unpack, repack, and travel back down. I told Dad, when the birthday party was first planned, that I would come down for that and not Thanksgiving.
In the meantime, I accepted a friend's invitation to join her Thanksgiving dinner (surprisingly enough, I had 4 different invitations --- kind of nice. I accepted the first one that came along). While, I'm happy that I don't have to spend the day on my own, I'm starting to regret my decision to not spend it with my parents. Dad seems quite sad about not having our usual gathering. I'm starting to wonder if I should cancel my plans for the T-Day weekend and get a last-minute flight down.
My concern....my parents are up there in years. What if this could be the last Thanksgiving and I'm not there? My sister will be there (she lives near them) so they won't be alone. And yet, I wonder...am I making a mistake by staying home this year?