Wednesday, November 23, 2011

For all of this, for all of you...I give thanks.

Every day is a gift.  Every breath, every smile, every movement of my big, beautiful, curvaceous body is a miracle.  So today, on this great day of giving thanks, I will give it gladly to my Creator.  I'll attempt not to overindulge in my fantastic homemade stuffing and make my curves any more attractive to Eric, my husband, than they already are.  I barely get enough sleep as it is.

I will also look towards the Western sky this afternoon, across the Rocky Mountains, and know that somewhere an hour earlier, our families - both the Potts' and Bryants' - are preparing to gather for their meals.  They'll sit at their tables, experience family politics, argue with the kids, share funny stories of past holiday meals, and think of us.  We'll simultaneously toast each other and remember the good times.

"Hmm, Umm" (clear my throat, crack my typing fingers) "I would personally like to take this blog opportunity to toast my oldest sister, Ellen.  When I was13 years old, she placed my rather large bra on my toddler brother, filled it with oranges, and had him walk into the dining room where my aunts, uncles, and cousins were having Thanksgiving dinner with us. (I stop and raise my glass)  I just recovered from this experience last week in therapy.  A toast to my wonderful sister, whom I miss tremendously and love with all my heart."

Austynn will spend the greater part of the afternoon at the kitchen table, humming to himself and meticulously cutting out intricate feathers from construction paper for a turkey centerpiece.  I will look at him and be grateful that he is a healthy, strong boy.  That for all of the horrifying abuse he and his brother, William suffered in their early childhood, they are somehow managing to survive.  I won't lie and say I wish they were thriving.  Every day, when a new issue pops up or another crisis erupts, I can't help but wonder how they're going to manage on their own when they're adults.  Yes, they're strong but only in a physical sense. One misunderstood cue, and it happens all the time with Aspergian kids, can send them into an escalated rage.  But today - today I will be grateful that the frightening shadows of Austynn's past are quietly at rest.

The music will be blaring today.  Hands clapping, feet slapping, and sporadic goofiness will erupt as my best friend and soul mate will wander through the house doing miscellaneous 'handy man' projects.  This holiday, in my estimation, is Eric's favorite; a day which costs very little, takes barely any effort (on his part), and culminates in one of his all time favorite side dishes..homemade stuffing and gravy.  How could it possibly not be his best day of the year?  The moment I start slicing onions and celery, he'll begin hovering.  He'll watch in giddy anticipation as I add the seasonings and liquid to the dry bread; however, the gravy is his biggest concern.  This ties the entire meal together. 

When we were first married, making gravy from scratch and not from a powdery substance from a packet was a complete mystery to me.  Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is an amazing cook so I've learned from trial and error over the years and had to deal with Eric's disappointment along the way.  Of course, past mistakes always weigh heavy on my mind and certainly won't help when Eric starts roaming the kitchen with a look of heightened anxiety on his face.  For the general happiness of the Potts' family meal this evening, I will be extremely grateful if he stays several feet away from me while I'm at the stovetop preparing the sauce.

And finally, when all the dishes are washed, the kids are in bed, and I'm lying next to my husband tonight, I will rewind the day, the week, the month, and the past year and quietly give thanks for all of the wonderfully diverse and beautiful people in my life...friends whom I've known since childhood, my family, church members, strangers who've knocked on life's door, said hello, and left gifts never to be forgotten.  Neighbors who have stepped in and become my second family.  My 8 year-old students who throw their arms around me after religious class on Tuesday nights.  And then, I will remember and give thanks to those who have gone before me.  They're the reason I'm here; their strength, courage, and independence.  I came from these amazing people and I musn't let them down.  For all of this, for all of you...I give thanks.


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