Reflections on Thanksgiving Week

It was the little things that made my insides open wide. The small surprises, those ‘mere’ moments that steal the breath and sear themselves into the memory.

The students from Asia and Europe who willingly looked silly while acting out a First Thanksgiving Day narrative at a dinner we helped to serve on the Saturday before the Big Day. So kind and grateful for a window into an American custom, brought to them by a caring church community, spread throughout the city of Santa Barbara. Held in our gym, sponsored by ISI.

The neurologist’s words, “No, it’s not Alzheimer’s but there is some serious short-term memory loss and some medication issues to be resolved,” at mom’s wrap-up visit on Monday of the Big Week. 

The first-time-in-a-long-time baking frenzy that somehow filled the hollows inside, those hollows that come from worry and uncertainty, from watching loved ones come undone.
The weeping that came from my good man as he read a note from his sister, with words quoted from his mom: “How long is this going to go on? I just wish my parents would come and get me so I could go home.” Oh yes, I added my own sobs to his. 

The shouts of, “Hi, Nana. How are you?” as our three youngest grandboys burst through the door on Thanksgiving Day. And the sweet looks of love between our eldest daughter and her new husband, looks that happened naturally and frequently all afternoon.

Introducing yet another attempt to collectively give thanks for all that is ours. This year, colorful cut-out leaves found on-line with space to write three things, large or small, for which we are grateful. The six-year-old helped me find pens and pencils for each place and we read them before dessert. Most of them sweet and sincere, one of them noteworthy – from the 17-year-old, of course – who is grateful for: “my incredible brain and my dashing good looks, but most of all my surpassing humility.” 

Yes. Well. Maybe next year!

The hard-pounding basketball as boys and men shot the hoops on Friday afternoon, getting sweaty and having a great time doing it.

Hugging my mom that night, and commiserating with her about the vagaries of aging – without my usual descent into guilty fears that it’s all somehow my fault. (How could I have such power??)

Sitting in the sun long after the lunch of leftovers on Saturday, enjoying my middle daughter’s company, watching as our two six-year-olds frolicked barefoot around the pool. These two precious souls arrived in our family circle in the middle of one of the most harrowing times we’ve walked through together. Their very presence always speaks to me of life and hope, of sunshine and laughter, and the sure promise of the future.

Heading into the house that same afternoon to cut birthday cake and discovering that one of the birthday girls – my dear daughter-in-law – had put away all the food, done the dishes and was playing with her (and our!) littlest girl.

Celebrating two of the finest women it has ever been my privilege to know – my daughter Joy and my daughter-in-law Rachel – as they each have a birthday this week. Singing the song decidedly off-key but finishing with smiles and giggles.

Trying to cut what will undoubtedly be a cake that goes down in family lore as one of the weirdest ever – an attempt at a caramel ‘fringe’ accidentally became a caramel blanket! (It tasted okay, but looks?? Not so hot!)

The sweet relief of a quiet house by dinner time on Saturday – so grateful for its fullness over the previous three days, but glad to be just two once again. 

Life is good, even when it’s hard. God is good, even when it doesn’t feel like that’s true. We have much to say ‘thank you’ for and I’m so glad I get to do it with these people.

Joining with Laura and Laura after a long break. I’ll try and reflect on why the break in the next post.
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  1. … and when it’s hard He stands with us

  2. This sounds like a little bit of heaven, Diana. What a beautiful family! If I had my druthers, I’d join those handsome young men at the tiny table :). Still praying for your mom and your family, my friend. The time just goes too quickly…

  3. Actually, that empty seat at the small table was mine, Laura! Such cool kids – love ’em. Even the 20 year old chose the small table this year, something he hasn’t done since he was about 14! Thanks for your prayers, friend. Not clear exactly what to do next, but we’re leaning strongly toward moving my mom to assisted living. Sigh.