This Thanksgiving image is fixed in my holiday dream thoughts. It’s those images that we dream of when the holidays roll around hoping they come true. Norman knew how to show goodness and happiness for the picture perfect world.
Thanksgiving Day, we made our way to grandmother’s house, ( over the river and all), I shushed my two bickering kids with a “You’re going to be thankful!” voice, and said,
“Goldi when you are sad, what makes you feel better?”
Goldi gave her brother one last smack, turned angelic and said “Well, . I just get my pink blanket and tell my mom.”
“Thank God for pink blankets and moms to help us feel better. ” I say.
“And you sir, ( referring to Goldi’s “Mom, she just smacked me!”Brother, If you are sad, what makes you happy?”
Silence. “Uh…..I can run as fast as a Cheetah away from the scary stuff.”
“Thank God for giving you fast legs.” I say.
I proceed with other ridiculously simple questions such as “What is your favorite red thing?”. Anything I could muster up for baby steps to a thankful heart.
This was my child version of the “Thanks be to God” kind of stuff that we would recite during a Thanksgiving liturgy at church. Thanks be to God for putting the idea into my head at short notice. For the moment, we focused on a thankful heart.
Before we went up the hill and through the patch of woods to grandmother’s house ( really and truly) , I said “Let us pray.”
I thanked God for things like pink blankets, and cheetah feet. And silently through my inner groanings, I asked God to fill both kids’ hearts with joy and gratitude.
Thanksgiving at Grandmother’s house was very much Norman Rockwell like picture. . The table was fancied up fancier than Martha Stewart’s. We oohed and ahhhed over the bounty of food placed before us. Family and friends were all there.
Suddenly someone with a ruptured spleen took my husband from smells of pure goodness to a stench in a cold OR. Suddenly, Goldi grabbed her ear, and I rushed home to get pain relief ,and missing the Thanksgiving prayer. Suddenly my son was asking for cereal, after barely tongue touching the home grown mashed potatoes, organically and locally raised turkey, and out of this world cranberry relish.( never liked it until mom made us her version)
Then Goldi returned to the table proudly cleaned her plate. My husband returned in time to eat a plate of leftovers and help serve up the pumpkin pie. My son decided the green beans from the garden were really good. and licked his lips after a bite of pie. Thanks be to God.
We returned home and noticed Christmas lights already on display in the neighborhood.
“Oh, my goodness , will you look at that!” Goldi declared.
Not a second later, we took off our coats, and Goldi said “Mom, we have to bake our cookies for Mrs. Claus, ( I will explain later) and….do you think she will bring me a Barbie House?”
Tired and ready to get down on my knees, I pray, Lord, please help Goldi ( and her brother) to see, feel, and touch the gifts of God. I pray, that she will praise and glorify You not for just what You give, but for Who You are.
And with that prayer, in faith I look for Goldi’s grasp of the Giver of all things.
That night, Goldi pulls up the covers and closes her eyes, “Dear God, Thank you that we could have so much fun today. Thank you that we could go to Grandpa and Grandmas. And please help us to have a good favorite sleep. ”
I close my own eyes and do my own thanking. God gave as He always does on this day, and will forever more. Perhaps Goldi’s knew it. Simply because she knew Who to thank and what to thank Him for. To me, that is more than a Norman Rockwell picture.
Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:7