The Thanksgiving trail
Our family recently enjoyed a Thanksgiving road trip to the great state of Alabama. It was our first lengthy road trip since Daddy’s return and BOY did we have a car full! The two of us plus two kids and two dogs…Whew...Equals one packed car! Before we left, we enjoyed a mock-Thanksgiving meal in our own home complete with fine china and candlelight. D thought it was really something special. He took one look at the table and said, “Oh, Momma! Thank you so much for doing this!” His heart of gratitude made me smile in satisfaction, for our family began a new tradition this year: 30 days of Thanksgiving. Using a piece of paper from the kids’ giant art tablet, we began to list out daily one thing we were thankful for. Each of us took turns writing, even D. It became something to look forward to daily.
My dad had recently undergone knee surgery to replace his left knee. So things were a little different than normal at my parent’s house. Dad had a rough go of things following surgery, so we were very anxious to see him for this holiday. He improved by leaps and bounds right before our very eyes while we were visiting! He went from barely ambulating to walking the house with a cane in a matter of days. The kids weren’t sure what to think of their “Poppy” in his condition. D kept asking how his knee was doing and J wanted to check on his “boo-boo”. My mom was doing a wonderful job of running the house (of a sorts) and keeping up with Thanksgiving traditions. Thankful for their 35 years together!
One of our stops along the way was to visit Tim’s widowed grandmother, affectionately known as “Granny”. Our kids had a wonderful time at her house. It is an old Alabama country home, but it is so much more than that to my husband. As a missionary kid, it was one of the few “constants” in his life. The place is full of things to do and tinker with. Stuff of a boy’s childhood dreams. And now Tim is getting the chance to share it with his son. On our visit they explored the upstairs of the “apartment”, shot 2 kinds of BB guns, went to the wood’s edge, and told tales of nearly-legendary motorcycle jumps. D’s fascination grew until he was hooked. He cried when it was time for us to leave. J, too, had fun living vicariously through her brother’s adventures, though most of his exploring was done during her nap. As I laid her down to sleep in Granny’s room gently warmed by an antique gas heater, I too rested my head for a bit on the king-sized bed. For a moment, all was quiet and it gave me pause to think. My heart felt grateful for the chance to be so full of things to be thankful for, for holidays, and silence, and family. For old houses and deep memories. For things that change and things that do not. For a sleeping baby and an adventure-some boy. For the man whose Army medals hung across the bedroom on the wall. For his service in Korea to our country. For the life he lived and the love he shared. For the time my son had to know him. For the soldier we welcomed home this year and his selfless service too.
It was on our travels that I really took time to notice what great playmates our two little arrows have become. They prefer each other’s company and the number of fights I have to break up is beginning to decrease. They seek each other out for play and she can do JUST about anything he can. At three and a half years apart he is old enough to look out for her but still young enough to play her kinds of games. My prayer is for a life of peace and friendship between them.
As I blog, our family is making its way back to our Army homestead, traveling this long stretch of rainy highway. This week will no doubt be filled with decorating for the great December celebration. I love that Thanksgiving (which our family DOES celebrate as a separate holiday-entity unto itself!) ushers in the Christmas season each year. What more perfect way to ready our homes and our lives for the greatest, most needed gift to humanity than with thankful hearts?! Finally I can say it…Merry Christmas to all!