We were on vacation visiting Great Grandma, and the three oldest woke up on a Thursday, got themselves some breakfast, made their hotel beds, got themselves dressed, and put all their dirty clothes in the corner of the closet like I asked them to do the first day that we arrived.
I need to remember these things when all four have decided to play a rather LOUD game of tag in that same quaint condo on that same lovely afternoon.
It's a week where families sit around and chat about gratitude and how we're all thankful for things like food, family and shelter... All things which I truly am grateful for.
But this week while we ate turkey around Great Grandma's beautifully decorated table...
While all the cousins were singing to Grandma their Turkey Day song...
While the spunky-girl showed me her "Dora-pizza" that she had made with the pumpkin spice play-dough that Aunt Kristin had brought for the kids all the way from her California cottage,
I thought about how gratitude has changed things in me this year. How the learning of deeply rooted gratitude really only comes like most things truly known... it comes with much practice... and it doesn't always come easy.
And when it was my turn at Great Grandma's beautifully decorated Thanksgiving table to share just what it is that I'm grateful for, I couldn't find the courage to share the real details of my heart, for fear that tears might take over the table... and besides that, I feel much more comfortable writing my heart than speaking it.
This past year has been a year of counting for me. Counting graces, gifts, treasures in the everyday. And as I looked around the table at family, my heart smiled. There were only six of us adults. And truth be told, I rarely actually see these people in person. (I think it just might have been a whole two years since I last saw my older brother and my sweet niece and nephew. And we haven't had a holiday at my Grandma's house since the year that my Mom passed away.)
But there's something about each one of them that I really cherish.
There are always good memories to rehash on the rare occasion that we're all together. And those were the things that I had wished I had the courage to say around the table on Thanksgiving Day.
I remember long conversations on my Grandma's back porch. The time she flew me to her house and spoiled me for a weekend after we had lost our boys. That chopper you bought me Grandma, renewed our relationship and brought my kitchen life to a whole new level of great! Hehe. :)
I'm thankful for the silly stuff, like the countless bags of hand-me-downs that my sweet sister-in-law has so generously passed down to my treasures. And for the heart stuff, like the box you made that holds all the memories of our first two boys. And for the big stuff, like the way you show me Christ in the way that you love on your treasures. Thankful for the years you've loved on and supported my brother through the countless adventures that the two of you have been on. Thankful that you're my sister.
I'm thankful for my brother and how although our conversations are far and few between, when we do get a chance to catch up it's always about the good stuff, the heart stuff, the God stuff.
And Robby, he's been in my life for as long as I can remember. I'm thankful for the way he really does care for my Grandma. Thankful that they have each other. Thankful that he shared what he was thankful for around the Thanksgiving table. :)
My Joey sat next to me at that table. And there's no way that I could tell him in front of all those people how I really feel about him. How grateful I am that we get to go through this life together. How grateful I am that we grow together through the hard stuff. How grateful I am that he is simply mine.
I was so grateful that the Cowboy worked it out for us to go to my Grandma's house and found us a sweet little place to stay for our week in Las Vegas.
I was grateful for the funny things the treasures said, things I always want to remember.
How the spunky girl started sniffing in the back seat...
"I smell something." she said as she kept on sniffing.
"I fink Papa must have farted or sumping."
Hilarious that child is.
Or how about when we were driving down the Las Vegas strip and she just kept repeating (pretty much to herself),
"Oh my goodness... I just can't believe this. This is just so amazing. I just can't believe this."
Thanksgiving Day was quite lovely this year indeed.
But what I'm most grateful for, is that gratitude can bring light to my eyes and joy to my heart, any day of the year... not just on that one day in late November when I'm supposed to be grateful. :)
Happy Thanksgiving, today and everyday! :)
(And could you believe that I forgot to take my camera this week??? Maybe I can add some later from aunt Kristin's camera. :)