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:

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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.

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Rooftop Perspective

Two months ago I swung on a porch swing in the 70 degree, crispy California morning air. I took deep, sultry breaths. I smiled toward the busy hummingbird, who smiled back in his own way. I breathed a certain goodbye. Not that I’d never be back, but never back to that particular town as it was in that particular moment. All that had grown familiar… normal… to us, would soon be different. Southern California glimmered in a way I’d never seen in those last few days, as though it too was uttered to us its own, “until next time.”

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Beautiful Grief

I sat slumped over on the hardwood floor. The sun was shining in slanty lines across the corner of the house that wasn’t in boxes. I stared there instead of the top of the staircase, where the life we built over the past three years – the one built up of 22 years of two people mushed together – sat waiting in a pile of boxes to be shipped off to a garage off Merrill Street. That pile hit me in the face as I walked through the door today. I started crying, finally. I sat on the hardwood floor, leaned against my husband, put my face in my hands, and cried. The weight of reality finally settled into me. It didn’t crush me. It kind of sat there next to me, warm and heavy. There was no reasoning with it, no escaping it, no telling it to wait awhile. The only option was to wrap my arms around it and embrace it.

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Saturday Showers

I hope that hand-made wreath graces your front door. Your first front door, where family and friends—who are are mostly family—will come through and sit around your table, propped on elbows and leaning closer to listen above the murmurs of the people you love all around  you and above your favorite song humming behind the gathering—a subtle ballad to bliss. I hope that skillet makes not-so-perfect pumpkin pancakes on a late and rainy Saturday morning and that those pancakes are the beginning of an agendaless day. Oh sweet friend, you’re radiant and lovely and full of that thing that makes him love you.

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Home.

I don’t know how to write a poem. This was going to be a poem, but I never ever understood poetry except for that it is beautiful. Instead, this is a story–or more like an excerpt of where I am. I am on my couch, in my living room which is a room inside of a loft inside of a big house off of a windy dirt road on the edge of town.

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