In this way, I feel fortunate. I know this is the last Thanksgiving I will have for a long time with all my children. See, next year, Mary and David will both be on their missions. Shortly before they come back, Jonathan will be on his way. And then when he comes home, Matthew will be gone before the next Thanksgiving, and then Joseph. There's a slightly larger gap between Andrew and Joseph, so there's a chance that for one year, they MIGHT all be here, baring jobs, other family obligations, etc. But that is the year 2020, the year Aaron turns ten. And we have no guarantee that he'll be here on earth for that celebration.
So in so many, many ways, I am grateful for this last holiday season that we get to celebrate as a family. This year, it's just us, William, me, and our nine kids at the Thanksgiving table. And I'm hoping it's perfect. My perfect. Which means that there may be spills, but I'm hoping no tears. The mashed potatoes will probably be a little lumpier than some would want, but there will be laughter.
This morning, Aaron came into the kitchen and hung out "helping" while I made the stuffing and prepped the turkey. Mary made the pies yesterday. Rolls (yeah, store-bought frozen dough this year) are rising.
So "Tom" finished baking a little early, but that's okay. At 4:00 p.m., we'll all gather round the huge table my parents made for us a couple years ago and give thanks. We'll be thankful for silly things and touching things. But mostly, just that we are blessed to be together. And for this meal, I'm not going to care is someone only eats rolls and sweet potato casserole. And for today, it won't matter if they don't finish all the food on their plate. Because today, this memory, is going to have to carry us for a long time, and over many miles before we can be together again. And only God knows whether that will be on this side of eternity or the next.
And I am grateful to have that insight. Today there are many who are without family members, and they didn't know last year that it was their "last." So I'm grateful for the experience and knowledge that we've had over the past few years, the events that have taught me to be more vigilant, more cognizant of life's frailties. And I'm grateful that we get today.
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,