One of my greatest joys at this season in my life, is the time I get to spend with the grands. My little gang of three keep me on my toes spiritually, physically and emotionally. Challenging me daily with a unique wit, wisdom and faith that is often found in members of the pint size set. They prove time and again that out of the mouths of babes God will be known and praised.
The fall and winter after my daughters death, a large part of me wanted to hunker down, stay indoors and hide from everyone in hopes that I could ignore the annual parade of holidays until it passed.
The one-two celebratory combo of Thanksgiving and Christmas held some of the sweetest and most cherished memories of times spent with my girl. Lauren was a self proclaimed homebody, who loved her family and revelled in all occasions that brought the family together.
I made the silly assumption that because we were so recently bereaved, no one would expect the usual Thanksgiving fair. Those who usually graced our tables would make other plans to spend their days in more joyful surroundings, with brighter spirited people.
I could not have been more wrong.
This family of mine barraged me with request for all their favorite dishes, I had parties inviting themselves to dinner as well as their latest love interest. We were to have a crowd.
What was wrong with these people?
Despite my intentions to sit out that inaugural year, my family had other ideas.
With help from my dear husband along with emails and phone calls from in laws and outlaws we assembled a menu, filled the cupboards and prepared for the pending celebration.
My family had high expectations and good intentions-committing to do everything they could to make this festival of thanks go smoothly and with little effort on my part. There were many promises of what would be done and how they would help, promises that ultimately were broken as most fell into their normal holiday habits that included watching lots of football, Christmas movies and naps by the fire.
But not the wee folk.
Seems my baby grand girls would have no part in my boycotting the holidays. My girls begged to know what we would be having and how they could help put on this party.
At just over 2 1/2 years old, these two little sprites were formidable.
It was Thanksgiving by golly!
They knew what to expect if we were doing this holiday up right and they were tenacious enough to keep me from collapsing on my memories and shutting the whole thing down.
To that end, these two girls were on me all the time: my kitchen, my bedroom, my bathroom, my world. From early in the morning to late at night they seemed determined to miss nothing.
With my two little sous chefs and Paw Paw in tow, we went about preparing a Thanksgiving feast.
We measured, stirred, whipped and baked.
The girls wash dishes, shucked corn and deviled some eggs.
We read volume's of thanksgiving books, played lots of birdie in the nest
all when we weren't
swinging and sliding all over our backyard and everyone else's.
My crew painted, colored and had all manner of tea parties that effectively filled every
dark corner of our big ole house with waves of love, laughter and other reminders of how much we truly had cause to give thanks for.
Those two girls wore themselves out with it all...they were so determined to be thankful!
By the time we actually sat down for dinner that year my heart overflowed and I dared to mention the unmentionable...the empty chair....
As with many families we traditionally take time to share something we are grateful for before going to God in prayer.
I was first to take a turn.
I thanked my loved ones for putting out all the effort, changing their plans and pushing so hard to be there in a home that no one in their right mind would want to be in - the home of a dead girl and her grieving family.
What kind of fun could that be?
Where's a cause to celebrate and give thanks?
Yet they came, made me stay, face my loss and ultimately blessed me so. It was a bittersweet day of thanks.
What a family I have!
I am blessed and abundantly so!
This year, no one will be traveling over the river and through the woods to this Maw Maw's house. It is not our turn to prepare their feast.
Instead, we prepare for a party of five.
Baby grand and I have been busy creating menu's, writing grocery list and making decorations including place card holders made of Oreo turkeys all while anticipating the baking of our first pumpkin pie this season.
For this I am thankful.
My son and daughter in love are expecting again...a miracle in itself as Elizabeth has unique medical anomalies that have kept her from successfully carrying 3 other pregnancies to term, so we lift them up in prayer and praise God.
For this I am thankful.
Same precious daughter in love gave her heart to Christ earlier this year and has been waiting to be baptized here in Georgia. Lord willing, Elizabeth will take this next step of faith when the family comes to stay throughout Christmas and New Years.
For this I am so thankful.
Little Man K has been living with his Mama full time for almost 3 months now, they seem to be getting along well.
For this and so much more I am thankful and ever
Now it's your turn, please share.
How has God blessed you and what is your testimony of thanks?
This post is a part of the Thanksgiving feast at L.L. Barkat’s Seedlings in Stone. Join us at the table. When you do, drop a comment by L.L.’s blog to let her know. L.L. will link to you in the Thanksgiving Celebration post (and Christianity Today and High Calling Blogs will link back to said post, so their readers can check out the full celebration).