The little ones are running amuck because I am working in the kitchen. They crowd the bar to help make pecan pies then run outside to ride their bikes. Soon they are back and now I am laboring over sweet potato pies while they giggle over their playdough in the other room.
They are never, ever still it seems. In and out of the room, in and out of the house and a thousand times someone says, “mmmmm….what smells so good?”
And I am remembering the last time I cooked Thanksgiving dinner. It was two years ago in that heartbreaking doldrum between my visit to Haiti when I met my babies for the first time and the second week of December when they finally came home. Thanksgiving was dark that year for me. It is so hard to practice the discipline of thankfulness with a broken heart.
That Thanksgiving I really was wondering if they would ever come home at all. There was no joy in the preparations. I did not want to spread the cloth on the table or stuff the turkey. I was facing the unbelievable: another holiday without my girls and if I could not see them, I did not want to see anyone at all.
I remember wrestling with despair that Thanksgiving morning as I watched the sun rise and coming to the conclusion that I was at the crossroad of decision once again. Would I choose hope or despair? Would I be consumed by my loss or choose to be thankful for the blessings before me?
I pull two ruined pie crusts out of the oven as these memories swirl through my mind. They are not burned, just falling apart. Suddenly, my sweet girl is at my elbow with only one thing to tell me.
“Mommy, I’m thankful I have you…”
I smile at her, give her a squeeze and tell her I am thankful for her too. Then, I break off a piece of ruined crust and hand it to her. She nibbles it, savoring it. She still takes forever to eat something she loves. I wonder if she will truly ever forget what it feels like to never have enough.
I motion to the bar stool and she climbs up to have a seat. Then, I put the entire crust before her. She giggles with delight and then calls her brother to share. Together they eat both broken pie crusts while I take out the trash. When I come back inside they are laughing because the pans are clean. I know they have ruined their next meal but I don’t care, because my girls are home and now there is more than enough.
Everyday miracles all around…..