Hopefully, we all give thanks throughout the year for the blessings in our life, but on Thanksgiving Day, we're reminded to stop and take stock, to give thanks to God for what He has done. Maybe it's politically incorrect, but I've never been accused of being politically correct anyway. I believe in God, I talk to Him every day, I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins, and I treasure my relationship with Him. Today, as I look back over the past year, I have many things to be thankful for even though it's been one of the hardest years of my life.
We lost my father-in-law in May, and we still miss him terribly. This will be our first Thanksgiving without him. But I'm thankful that my children had him in their lives for so many years. I'm thankful that he left them with a lifetime of good memories. He was a man who did and said the same things over and over, which at the time irritated some. But in doing so, he left a legacy of sayings--Paism's, if you will. When the kids were small, I didn't like for them to eat candy. When we went to visit Pa, he'd put the kids in his truck and drive them to Phil's Corner and buy them a Chick-O-Stick and M & M's. To this day, we associate Chick-O-Sticks with Pa.
When we sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, he'd say "A thousand good things to eat, and most of them beans." He always waited until every family member had filled their plate before he sat down to eat. I suspect that's a leftover from the days of the depression when his mother did the same thing, waiting to be sure there was enough before she took any. He'd pull his guitar out after dinner and play and sing, until his fingers were too gnarled with rheumatoid arthritis to play anymore.
It's sad that this Thanksgiving his children won't be gathering around the dinner table together. We're all doing our own thing with our own families and my mother-in-law, who didn't feel up to having the usual family gathering, is going to a granddaughter's house for dinner. But I'm thankful that two of my four children will be home, my grandsons will be here, and that my other two will spend the day together in California. We'll miss them both terribly, but at least they aren't alone.
I hope when I'm gone, my kids will remember me fondly instead of remembering the mistakes I made. Yes, Pa was difficult to get along with for some, but his family always, always, knew he loved them. I hope my kids know the same, that I love them, every single one of them, with an intensity I can't even describe. It doesn't matter if there were years I wanted to lock them away until they gained some common sense. Those years are past, this is now, and I love them, no holds barred. I'm so proud of each of them I could bust. There's nothing they could do to make me stop loving them, even if I was disappointed in them for a moment. Love overcomes disappointments. (Not that one of my kids has ever disappointed me in anything important. They're great kids.)
I have a husband who loves me in spite of my weight, in spite of my tendency to get mad over little things, in spite of my lack of "June Cleaver" skills. Martha Stewart I'm not. I love him with my whole heart, and I'm so glad I still have him with me.
So that's my Thanksgiving blessing. I'll be with people I love and who love me, and we'll hope that Pa and my dad are celebrating Thanksgiving right along with us, even if we can't see them. We'll feel their presence. And I totally expect to hear my husband say, "A thousand good things to eat, and most of them beans," as I set the green bean casserole on the table.