Distance & Thankfulness

This year, I’ll celebrate Thanksgiving in a country that doesn’t recognize it as anything but an ordinary day. But that’s no reason not to be thankful. This year, we’ll continue the tradition of Thanksgiving breakfast but it will just be us and our cat. Maybe in the years to come, it will grow to include more. But for tomorrow, I’m thankful for our little family to be around the table. The solemness of not being with family builds in my heart an even greater thankfulness for them. Memories of last Thanksgiving, when I knew I’d be far away the next year, play around in my mind. I remember being thankful for so much:


I’m thankful for my mother-in-law’s eagerness to please a household, for her kind, honest smile that says, “It’s not perfect, but it will do.” I’m thankful for rambunctious children and the shameless opportunity to dance and play alongside them. I’m thankful for my sister-in-law, that she proudly walks out of the door the same woman she walked in as. I am thankful for her confidence. I’m thankful for my grandparents-in-law, the way they smile adoringly at their family, the way they perfectly arrange the fruit basket year after year. I’m thankful for my little brother’s long hugs, for the grown-up air he’s suddenly got around him. I’m thankful for my mother’s charm, that she highlights even the dullest of moments. I’m thankful for my grandmother’s charisma, that she is instant friends with whoever she sits next to. I’m thankful for my aunt’s quiet desire to serve, for my uncle’s exploding kindness. I’m thankful for my sister’s inclusiveness, she always makes me feel at home. I’m thankful for my stepdad’s encouraging words, the way he’ll always share a good thought about another. I’m thankful for my grandfather’s smile, for his deep, compassionate heart. I’m thankful always for my husband’s impossibly constant grace toward me, his insane love, and his awesome hugs.

 

 

A Normal Morning

Mom has always been a morning person. I’ll remember forever that big white robe she wore in the mornings when I was a kid. It showed her smallness, the bulky baggy thing that it was. I always knew the time to wake up was coming when I heard her shower shut off. The light from her room across the hall would drift into my bed and bring my sleepy eyes to open. It was a warm light, deep and orange with traces of steam coming from the open bathroom door. She’d slip on her robe. She wore it when she’d get me out of bed. She wore it while she read the Bible under a lamp on the couch. She wore it while she put on her makeup and blew her hair dry. She wore it while I stood next to her, borrowing her hairbrush and doing it like she did. She wore it while she made us breakfast.

There is something so pure, so preciously normal about the start of a new day. These days I like to wake up slowly, next to my husband and steal up all the time I possibly can close to his warmth. After a few tosses and a few turns, I know the time to wake up is coming when I start to think about the coffee.

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I’m thankful for the coffee, for the rhythm of setting the kettle on the stove and grinding beans while it comes to a boil. Sleepy fog slips away while the water settles into and the grounds and drip into the mug. I watch while I pour, smell it while its steam invades the morning crisp.

When coffee brews the day begins. After coffee–well during rather–there’s a conversation, a chat with God. Sometimes I tell him about the day I left behind, other times about the dreams I woke up from. If I’m feeling particularly bold, maybe I’ll ask something of him…like for him to show me his realness, his bigness, his trueness in the day that waits for me. He usually answers and tells me to enjoy him now, in the morning, in the normal, in the pureness. Cooper saunters into the living room usually around the time he’s hungry, which is usually when I realize I am too.

When breakfast ensues his day begins. I’m usually caught off guard and realize I’m hungry only when I’m starving. Deciding what to cook is usually a scramble. Scramble. Oh yes, eggs. There’s usually bacon, too. There should always be bacon. And then I find myself quiet again while beaten eggs bubble in their place and bursts of bacon grease threaten me when I get too close. I’m thankful for breakfast, for the rhythm of whipping eggs while the bacon cooks. I’m peculiar about my eggs and my timing’s been perfected with practice. I chew on cooling bacon while the rest of it cooks.23659793_1965735213436945_1727589657_o

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In moments like these, I’ve noticed, when I’m going about my breaking the fast of sleeping, do the thoughts bouncing around in my mind take a rest. For just a moment, I nestle into the present promise of a new day, and the simpleness of making food and coffee for it.

I join him on the couch, what’s cooked in my hands. And we eat. We talk about our talks with God, or about our dreams, or about the day that waits. We smile because we know it can always wait a little longer. And I think it doesn’t mind a bit if we stay here a moment longer to enjoy the cozy predictability before we venture into the inevitable unpredictableness of the rest of the day.