Keeping Thanksgiving

blogDSCN8143Thanksgiving memories are too precious to let slip by so I need to record them before they are pushed to the back of the filing cabinet in an old, unused, dusty folder in the storage compartment called my brain.

I love Thanksgiving.  I love its warmth, I love the idea of families gathering in the homestead, surrounding the bountiful table of delicious food with the beautiful faces of loved ones.  I love pondering and remembering to count all our blessings and name them one by one, as the old hymn my Grandma taught me says.

My memories of Thanksgivings gone by still come to my recall.  When I was a youngster and my older sisters were married, my parents and I would always celebrate the day of thanks at my aunt and uncle’s home.  If I close my eyes, I can still visualize my aunt’s steamy kitchen with its red and white gingham curtains on the windows.  I can smell the amazing aroma of turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. 

I can hear my aunt and mom happily chatting as they busily prepare the feast for the day.  I can see my father and his brother, my uncle, talking seriously about world and local events in the living room while I am situated in the “sitting room” watching the Thanksgiving Day parade on the television.

Spending the day with family was an important aspect of Thanksgiving.  And to me, it is still essential.  Last year, Thanksgiving was a quiet and somber day.  Still reeling from grief over losing my dad, the only family I had to share this day with was my immediate family – my husband and our three adult children.  My oldest sister and her family live in other states and we rarely get to spend this holiday together.  My middle sister was sharing the day with her married son and daughter-in-law and her family.

But this year’s day of thanks was different and a more joyful occasion.  All three of our adult children journeyed home from the hinterlands for the entire weekend and my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece joined us as well.  I actually enjoyed being in the kitchen the day before preparing some of our favorite Thanksgiving goodies.

Wednesday evening our southern oldest daughter was the first to arrive home after a very long drive. How wonderful to see her beaming face at the door!  Middle daughter was scheduled to work the night shift at her hospital, but surprised me with a phone call happily announcing she was “staffed down” for the entire night – she didn’t have to work after all, so she was on her way home from the city!  Another smiling face at my door!

Shortly after her arrival, son also arrived home from the state next door.  Seeing his tall lanky form at the French door made my heart leap with joy!   By that time, hubby was home from his day’s work and what ensued was much hugging, laughter, story-telling and bringing in of luggage.  We talked non-stop – all five of us together.  It was as if we hadn’t seen each other for ages.

At one point in the evening, I quietly observed my dear beloved ones and I wanted to laugh out loud at what I realized.  The girls and I had gone upstairs and in no time at all, the boys (hubby and son) followed us.  I realized that all five of us were located in our master bedroom, sitting on the floor or the bed or standing while talking and laughing and enjoying our time together.

It reminded me of the past when there were three little children jumping on Mommy and Daddy’s bed to get our attention.  But here we were, five adults with a house full of separate rooms, yet we congregated in one room for much of the evening.  It was as if we just couldn’t get enough of being together and it was wonderful!

That evening our house was full with each adult child nestled in his or her old bedroom, but my heart was fuller yet.  Having our family together for Thanksgiving was the most precious of gifts and as I said my prayers that night I had so much to thank and praise God for.

Thanksgiving Day was just as delightful as we added full tummies to our gratitude list.  How thankful I was that we could afford to provide a sumptuous feast and that we have a warm home in which to live when so many of our fellow humans are hungry and cold and homeless.  What blessings we have and so foolishly take for granted when we fail to stop and thank God from whom all blessings flow.  I am reminded again how easily we squander our blessings instead of sharing them with those less fortunate than us.

That afternoon, my hubby received an unusual surprise.  One of his brothers, who he has not heard from or seen for a very long time, telephoned from out west just to catch up with the family.  They had a very good conversation – another thought of thanksgiving.

How grateful I was for fun and laughter as we played round after round of games with our family.  Hubby took the day off on Friday and how thankful we are for the job he currently has.  We’ve had a few bumps in the road with downsizing and job losses, so the blessing of a steady job is much appreciated.

That afternoon middle daughter met her boyfriend in the city for the “backyard brawl” (big rival college football game) and then they rejoined the family that evening. Another person to give thanks for – daughter’s bf – a wonderful, godly young man who obviously adores our lovely one.

blogDSCN7236Saturday brought even more fun and festivities. The girls and I attended niece’s baby shower – a real cause for celebration as a new little life will soon join our family. 

Again my mind turned to thanksgiving – we haven’t had a new baby join our family since my great-nephew was born about 12 years ago.  So this little girl arriving in December will be so lovingly welcomed.

The shower was lovely with a princess theme just like the wee one’s nursery.  We gathered with friends and my girls received an extra special treat when they got to tend a friend’s baby – a beautiful, sweet-natured boy.  We relished princess cake and my sister’s gift to her new grandchild of the Princess Potty Chair was a hit!

While we welcomed the princess, the boys were having some male bonding time at home.  Boyfriend brought his new shotgun.  Woo, boy, nothing makes manly men more excited than target shooting with a new gun in the back yard!  A few empty 2-liter pop bottles met their demise as well as some sweet potatoes cleverly disguised as clay pigeons.  As soon as we girls got home, my daughters wanted an equal opportunity – they tried their hand at shooting too. That’s when my thankfulness for living out here in the country kicked in.

Before I was ready, it was Sunday morning – departure day.  Oldest daughter, first to arrive now and 28 years ago, was first to leave.  Sitting in church that morning, listening to my young friend deliver the morning’s message, my heart was full of thanksgiving for my family, for my faith, for friends, for my Savior.

So many blessings, my cup of gratitude overflowed.  My desire is to experience those moments of gratefulness each and every day.  I do not want to let Thanksgiving Day go,  I want to keep it in my heart and mind not just for one day of the year but for always and especially during the upcoming Christmas season.

“Know that the LORD is God.
   It is he who made us, and we are his,
   we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
   and his courts with praise;
   give thanks to him and praise his name. 
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
   his faithfulness continues through all generations.” ~ Psalm 100:3-5 (New International Version)



4 responses

  1. Wow! What a wonderful celebration of thanks you all had! What a joy to have all of your “kids” home for the weekend. We too enjoyed a weekend of Thanksgiving over at the coast “camping” in our trailer. All of us were there, which was great. I miss having my “little miss” around the house, but am grateful that she is close enough to see fairly often. And our two boys are still home for awhile yet. 2 more years of high school, then college….I am not looking forward the nest being all the way empty…so will count every day that they are here a tremendous blessing! 🙂


  2. Pingback: One could sit like this forever | Mama's Empty Nest

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