I have fond memories of thanksgiving. We had so many houses to go to because our families live here that we were always hopping from house to house, but each side has things I vividly remember. My mimi was an absolute wonder in the kitchen. She would make her list, shop, (three different stores, for the best deals) plan ahead by cooking certain things ahead, preparing other things the night before and then had a written schedule with times on it for when certain things went in the oven and when other things came out, when to set the table, what napkins to use and one year she made little place card sail boats out of pecan shells and toothpicks, with little white flag name cards. We used those for years. The family would squeeze at the table and pass around every dish, stuff our faces and visit, laugh and just be together. I know she relished those times and soaked every moment up.
|My radiant Mimi (and pumpkin pie)|
The Byrd side ALWAYS has cheese grits (homemade by aunt linda), pink fruit salad (by gran), a kids table and a grown up table, cousin time, playing spy at the old house upstairs, group pictures, using the pretty dishes (even as kids we got to use neat dishes), green bean casserole and the pickle tray. I always ended up getting a bread and butter pickle on accident and had to sneak it to the trash. eew. Football naps and reading books are where you will find the Byrd/Goodell & now Weisgerber and Whitfield men after the meal. Most likely you will find all the Byrd girls around the table laughing and remembering old times, catching up each other on current events and just enjoying being together. When we were little, I can remember enjoying and sometimes getting wounded in a battle of spoons. :)
Thanksgiving is a nice long day of comfort all around.
|Mimi's recipes in my kitchen.|
|holding Noah a second time|
So, here we are. One year later. I look into November and remember making a thankful poster for Noah's room, instead of our thankful tree we always do. I remember fighting so hard to keep an attitude of thankfulness and gratitude even when I wanted to cry and whine every day. Somethings never change. I want to sit and cry and whine some days, that Noah isn't even here now. He doesn't get to be passed around at family gatherings, he won't know the taste of mommy's childhood thanksgivings, the joy it brings me to get up and watch the parade while making the dishes we bring to the family gatherings. I just wish that he could be a part of our lives in the tangible ways my heart wants. I know I know, he might not have even been able to be in crowds of family, enjoying life at all, depending on how severe his needs for oxygen were or how he felt on a daily basis, the issue of cold and flu season. I know, he is in a completely better place, in a way that I don't even understand yet. I know. I'm thankful. I don't need to be reminded that he is healed now. :) I know full well.
|day before his pacemaker surgery|
|one of very few family of 4 pictures. Thankful.|
Today, Ava and I will start our thankful tree. I want to instill in her traditions and past times that she can look back on and smile upon or even carry on to her kids someday, but we will be adding some new things this year as well. Noah made us a better family. He MAKES us a better family. He is and forever will be our boy, even if he just made it home quicker than we did. So, we will continue to live thankfully and share our thankful hearts, the reason we can be thankful in such heartache, with others.
Find a way to show your thankfulness besides getting up at midnight on Black Friday and squishing people to buy an xbox or some big tv. Maybe think of something outside the "box" and let gratitude become expressed tangibly. There are plenty of people that need your love. They need your thankfulness to show, so they can catch some of the hope you have.
I know I feel challenged today.
May November continue to be my favorite, not just because of all the yummy traditions and super fun activities, but because in 2012 a little boy reminded me that life isn't about traditions but about the One who made a way. Made a way for Noah to be in heaven. Made a way that I can be there too, someday.
Anyone want to join in? Make November a month to remember, by finding ways to love and serve. (someone other than yourself) I know that focusing on the good will not always make it easier for me during the holidays, serving others doesn't always take the sting of the loss away. Missing Noah is an everyday occurrence, not just a holiday thing, but Mimi reminded me of "making the best of" any situation, even after she went home, and before Noah joined her. So, I WILL make the BEST of this month, this holiday coming up, the pain I deal with so often, it all becomes a part of the journey and the journey is a good one.
Thanks as always, for riding this road with us, for the support and love we receive from each of you.
Be blessed this thankful season,