We are having Thanksgiving at my parent’s house; a house with which I am familiar but not the home I grew up in. My sister and her family are not here. Instead, indefinitely, they are in Panama on a sailboat. Someone is here in my sister’s place, Cindy. Cindy used to be my sister’s nanny. Now she has a family of her own; a husband, baby Grace, and two foster girls. What must these girls think of our motley crew?
The foster girls go up to Cindy and give her gigantic hugs. They are sweet and polite and full of affection. They’ve only lived with her family for two weeks. I wonder what has happened in their life such that they would end up here. I do not want to ask, especially not in front of them. I am in awe of Cindy and her husband and the way they are contributing to our collective whole.
I listen to their story and realize I could not be a foster parent. My chaotic and well-lived in house simply wouldn’t pass inspection. But these girls? Oh I would take these girls. They are running around with my own girls as naturally as if they were cousins. For today at least, they are family.
I am tired, from traveling and from getting up early for fun run. From eating too much. And from the wine.
The television is on, football, and I am partially deaf. This makes conversation difficult. I find myself saying “what?” all too often. Middle jumps in and translates for me. It’s nice to have an interpreter.
Tonight some knitting. And some pie. Tomorrow a movie. No shopping for me. I can’t handle the crowds.
And I am thankful. For food. For family. For friends. For days off work. I am grateful to those who are working in my place; I’ll pay you back at Christmas when the roles are reversed.
I am grateful for my senses; sight, touch, taste and smell. I am grateful for the hearing which remains. I am grateful for the balance that, more often than not, stays under control. I am grateful for this body which propels me through this world; a vessel of experience.
I am grateful for children who require me to step out of the box and to think differently. I am grateful for other children who allow me to stay in the box, crouched in earthquake position, hands covering the back of my head.
I am grateful for the internet and connections and opinions right and left. I am grateful for the kindness of most folks (I'm sorry for the others).
This life. It's messy and challenging. It's tiring and worrisome. It's heartbreaking. But it is good. Oh so good.