Thanksgiving came & went. It was restful. Yet, I’m tired. It was peaceful. It was chaotic. It was perfect.
I didn’t cook – we ordered Thanksgiving to-go from a hotel here in town that served up a beautiful meal. It was the kind of meal I would’ve dreamed of making for our family had we not 1 baby who’s up and all but walking/running all around the house, 3 dogs, no extended family in town who was looking for a place to eat turkey, and also (lest I forget) jobs.
It was the 1st time in our relationship (& in our personal lives) we weren’t part of a large Thanksgiving. I grew up with a mama who made 2 full Thanksgiving meals – lunch & dinner- for both sides of our family. Seriously. 2 turkeys, ham, all the trimmings, dessert. Twice. Fresh for both meals. She never thought folks should have to eat leftovers on Thanksgiving. I don’t know how she did it. I didn’t when I was growing up & I still don’t because I only have 1 baby who’s well behaved & generally happy and she had 2 kids who were….well…we turned out just fine so let’s leave it at that, thank you. If she reads this she should know she was a miracle worker on this holiday (& all others). I don’t know how she did it but I am so stinking grateful she did.
This year though was our 1st Thanksgiving as a little family of 3 outside the walls of the NICU. (Last year, we hastily ate turkey while watching the clock & rushing to the hospital to sit with Nicholas because no one should be alone on Thanksgiving – especially not babies in the NICU). Andy & I wanted it to be special – even with take out. And it was.
That morning, instead of waking at 4 AM to put a turkey in the oven or mash potatoes we slept. We got up when N decided it was time for everyone to get up & we drank coffee, and caught up on the news, and watched our child play. We practiced the mantra “just be”.
While sitting together drinking coffee, Andy was watching the news. His eyes never left the screen but he said “Today, I’m thankful for you & Nicholas. That you’re here. With me. And today, I prayed for the families who are where we were last year. That they find peace & comfort in the moment with their child.” So matter of fact. So intent.
At dinner as we sat down at the table to share Thanksgiving with our dear, dear friends Steve & Rachel (& their 3-year & 10 month old babies). Andy stopped before he ate and pronounced “Now, we’ll say grace.” He looked at me with that And, you pray because you’re the out-loud prayer person around here look. And so, I said grace.
Our friend’s 3 year old bowed his head and sat silently while we prayed. After we were done he looked up and asked “Can I say MY prayer now?” Why yes, my darling, you can. And so he did. Except he sang it. The whole thing. And it was wonderful (I might have cried a happy “thank you for patiently loving Jesus; please don’t let the world take that from you.” cry).
Andy has never been a man to stand on a street corner & pronounce Jesus out loud for all the world to hear. It just ain’t his style. And I’m OK with that. He loves Jesus & asks me to church every Sunday & abides when I feel the need to talk or pray or cry to God.
But, there’s something about a baby that breaks down any walls a man has. There’s something about Nicholas thats brought out a sweet, I will kiss this baby, and hold him, and learn all about night time prayers & the words to Jesus Loves Me so I can be active in raising him to be a godly man in Andy. And I am oh.so.thankful for it.