Thursday, November 22, 2012

Firsts and Lasts

In our lives, we track the "firsts" so very well.  First breath, first tooth, first day of school.  First date, first job, first baby.  The "lasts" seem to be less obvious, less marked.  While we do mark the last day of school (graduation) how many of us realize that last tooth falling out?  Or the other "lasts?"  So often, they pass us by without our realizing that it is the "last."  The last time we play on a soccer team, or the last time we wear a certain outfit.  Or the last time we see someone.

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, 

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
                                    John Howard Payne

Thankful Thought:
I'm afraid I've  let the daily thankful thoughts get away from me.  But today, I'm grateful for so much.  I'm grateful for a husband who loves me.  I'm grateful for nine beautiful children who try hard to do their best and are striving to live right.  I'm grateful for a warm, secure home with plenty of food.  I'm grateful for friends and neighbors, near and far who uphold us with their prayers, and give us someone to pray for, too.  I'm grateful for my liberty, for the soldiers who fought for it, and for their families who keep the home fires burning.  Mostly today, I am grateful for my Heavenly Father and my Savior, for the love They have for me and the many, many ways They show that I am important to them.


  1. Thanks for your post - a good reminder to enjoy the moments while you are in them.