For the past five or six years, Thanksgiving has been kind of a sad holiday at our house. Our kids all live far away and since they almost always come home for Christmas, they can’t get off work or make such a long trip home for two holidays so close together. In addition, my mom hasn’t been well enough to host our traditional Thanksgiving dinner in recent years, and for the last two years has been in a nursing care home. Last year we took Thanksgiving dinner to her. The home where she lives has a wonderful dining room reserved for families to use so my brother and sisters and our dad brought dinner to Mothe (that’s not a typo…one of my sisters shortened Mother to “Mothe” years ago and it stuck!)
This doesn’t mean we have nothing to be thankful for. Not by a long shot! We have blessing upon blessing to thank our Lord for. I’m so grateful that even though she suffers from dementia, my mom still knows us all by name and tells us she loves us. I’m so thankful my dad has demonstrated true, selfless love in his commitment and devotion to Mothe.
Our usual Thanksgiving with Ken’s mom and family isn’t happening this year either. Mom had knee surgery last week, and needs time to recover. But I’m so thankful she came through the surgery wonderfully. And that we were able to get a few “bonus” visits with Ken’s brothers and sister while we took turns hunkering down with Mom in her cozy, beautiful home.
Two years ago we got a “bonus” Thanksgiving with our son and his wife in Dallas when their baby boy made an early appearance and spent a couple of weeks in the special care nursery.
That year we were so thankful for the hospital and the technology that brought our little guy through safely. Our daughters drove to Dallas to help, and we felt blessed to get to fix Thanksgiving dinner in an unfamiliar kitchen, and then to be there to witness our sweet granddaughter meet her wide-eyed baby brother for the very first time outside the doors of the nursery. (Now they live even farther away in Seattle, and a new little brother is due to make his appearance in just a few weeks—or any day now, if he decides to show up early like his brother!)
This year, we will have a houseful of people on Thanksgiving Day and again the Saturday after. Our next-door neighbors own a Chinese restaurant and though we’ve been wanting to have them over for a meal, their restaurant schedule means the only day they have off all year long is Thanksgiving Day. We were pleasantly surprised when they accepted our invitation to come to our house for dinner that day! I’m excited to get to know them better (and a little nervous since A. how on earth do you cook for people who own a wonderful restaurant? and B. only one family member speaks English! Could be a very interesting conversation around our table!) But I’m so thankful for good neighbors and the beautiful neighborhood God has placed us in.
Then Saturday, we will host 27 of my extended family (including nine great-nephews and nieces under six!) around our table—and coffee tables and desks and TV trays and even lawn furniture if the weather allows.) I’m so grateful for all these precious family members who make it easier to be far away from our own kids, and who are such a joy to us. I’m also grateful that when you have nine little kids coming to dinner, you do NOT need to clean house before they get there!
Whether the holidays are like the “good old days” we remember from childhood, or whether they’ve changed to something we wouldn’t have chosen, there are still so many blessings for which to thank our amazing Heavenly Father. May you and yours have a wonderful day wherever you celebrate, whoever you celebrate with. Even if you spend Thanksgiving by yourself, you are never truly alone.
What does Thanksgiving look like at your house? What are some of your favorite traditions of this holiday?