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Simply Thankful

I just pulled five hairs out of my chin. No joke. And I am thrilled, so thrilled, in fact, that I added it to my list of things for which to be thankful during this special time of year. Perception is everything, right?

While for most women, facial hair is not something to celebrate, for me, it means that my body is working again, slowly recovering from the nine-week battery of chemo as it gathers its strength for the next round. Just reaching for the tweezers made me feel normal in a land that has been both strange and unfamiliar.

Earlier today, I read through my blog post from a year ago as I had lovingly set the table for our family Thanksgiving feast. I waxed poetic about my dear mother in law's beautiful china, used for so many holidays. I considered the legacy dishes that were always part of the bounty, like mom’s rice dressing. I thought of the beauty of handing down the traditions of the celebration to my children and their children. It was all so lovely, in a Norman Rockwell kind of way. But I must admit that with each passing year, I took it all for granted. Never again.

I have come to understand that everything within our world is dynamic, in a constant state of change. If you live long enough, life is going to take a stab at you, break your heart a little, heap on a bit of pain. And it is up to you to try to make sense of it all, learn something significant in the process, while trying to remember to breathe. The biggest lessons don’t come easy, and wisdom comes at a price. Trust me, I know.

But ultimately, we learn how strong we are from having climbed the mountain. And certainly, we learn the value of a piece of bread from having experienced the hunger. Yes, these sound like platitudes, catching sayings printed on inspirational plaques, but there is a bit of truth wrapped in the cliche. (Thanks for indulging me.)

And so, as I sit here on Thanksgiving Eve in my pajamas, with my kitchen notably quiet, I think about how blessed I am to have skilled doctors, to have family and friends who demonstrate such love and patience toward me during my helpless moments. I am grateful for a respite from treatments and pain meds that work. I think of how nice it is to savor a hot cup of tea, along with the perfect jelly donut. The smallest things feel significant these days, as though their value in my life has grown exponentially. Isn’t that what this holiday is all about?

This year my boys (now grown men) are cooking, while the wives play sous chef. And they are excited about it! The gang sat around the kitchen table with the seriousness of a summit council as they crafted a menu and divvied up the responsibilities. I think I am able to relinquish control this year. In fact, it is going to be yummy, and I intend to eat with wild abandon. Perhaps it is time for new traditions. Well, not entirely. I did make Momma’s dressing last week. It is safely tucked into the freezer, just in case.

And this year, more than ever, I am so very thankful.

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