Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 26 {For Little Hands}

Mother wondered who had thought to make the first hand print turkey, and if whoever it was could have guessed at the generations of American children who would follow, crafting silly little birds made special by the nature of their bodies, the shape of the maker's tiny hand captured forever on a scrap of paper. The best ideas are simple genius.
Pigeon had been more interested in the project than she'd anticipated, spreading eager fingers to be traced as Mother had done decades before, when her own hands were smaller. In between, she'd traced the little hands of other children in Sunday schools and classrooms, crafting treasures for other families, waiting for her own little bird to land in her lap, perch at her table, and show a little interest in scissors and glue.

And now he was here. The proof was sent with a stamp to loved ones here, and there. An imprint, a name, a date to remember: Once you were this small, she might say, years later. Once, my hand was biggest. He might laugh in return, think her silly and sentimental. At least until he had a Pigeon of his own.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 25 {For Catching Up}

Mother supposed she could be thankful that day for the chance to catch up on the days she'd missed, instead of feeling bad about missing them in the first place. She had run out of time to write, after all, because her days were full of doing--visits to family, visits from friends; time out with Pigeon and Father; time in, cooking, making a home for them all. Best not to regret being busy with these; better to be thankful for the spent-up hours, the real opportunities, the memories made and not just imagined.

Pigeon at Play
Sitting down for a few free minutes that day, it was easy to think of eight thanks-worthy things, one for each day she'd missed along the way:
  • Day 16 - For hands held high in worship.
  • Day 17 - For Pigeon's chance to run on a real lawn, to play with dogs and men and a football, like any boy should in November.
  • Day 18 - For cooler weather, and smaller utility bills.
  • Day 20 - For the guests that do show up.
  • Day 21 - For once-a-year peppermint mochas and homemade gingersnaps. {All things in moderation...}
  • Day 22 - For the quiet, ordered therapy of baking, and recent excuses to do it often.
  • Day 23 - For a good, late dinner with old friends, and the dry, warm home (albeit small and rented) in which to eat it.
  • Day 24 - For long Sunday naps, followed by tea and snuggles in bed with her boys.
There was more she could list, always more. One didn't need a month or a day to be thankful, but it was good to have one anyway, to take the time to more than glance around, to notice: we are blessed, we are free, we are fed, we are loved. And sometimes, we have a few minutes to write a bit of it down.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 19 {For Paw-paw's Garden}

in the early '80's with Pigeon's dad
Paw-Paw's Garden

We thank God for
your wizened hands, 
work-worn, leathered, weathered and
smooth-sanded by that daily task--

--that tenderhearted tending of
much more than mere tomatoes--

scattering seeds in memories;
it turns out you were growing these --
these boys into the best of men.
This happened in your garden.

some 30 years later with Pigeon

Happy Birthday, Paw-Paw!
: :
Today we are thankful for you.
(And, yes, for your tomatoes!)

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 15 {For This Moment}

Joining in once again with  
... for weekends out with Father
Soulemama & others with 
a single moment
for which we are thankful.
: :
Feel welcome to leave 
links to your moments 
in the comments below.
: :
We wish you all a
blessed weekend.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 14 {For Brown Paper Packages}

discovering treasures
After work, Father liked to take Pigeon on a walk to get the mail. Most days, they brought back a pile of papers that were sent straight back outside to the recycle bin; other days they brought back nothing but a couple of pine cones Pigeon had collected along the way. But every once in a while, they returned with a surprise--an unexpected note, or a magazine from a forgotten subscription full of pictures to remind them of the change of seasons sweeping other places; there might even be a box full of treats. The other day, they came back with two.

The New England Grands and Dear Aunt J had both sent surprises. Amongst other things, Grammy's box was full of autumn colors for their table, books and games for Pigeon, and a Thanksgiving treasure box they would pull out each November to help them be thankful; Auntie J had sent books and remembrances, and (of course), cookies.

coloring some of his favorite characters
Mother was thankful for the gifts themselves, but more so for the givers--and especially for the smile a surprise could bring to Pigeon's face.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 13 {For Simple Requests}

Sometimes Mother found herself busy preparing for guests who never arrived. It was hard not to feel deflated and bewildered, to wonder what she was doing wrong.

So she was thankful at the end of the evening, to hear her little Pigeon coo at her side: Snuggle me?

Yes, little one. For as long as you let me. 

A simple request from her favorite guest. Easy to please, this one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 12 {For Little Kitchen Helpers}

Years before, when Pigeon was still just a wish and a prayer, Mother would daydream about having little hands helping her in the kitchen. She had been a little kitchen helper once. She had memories of sitting on a gold-flecked Formica counter top while her aunt stirred fudge on the stove, or let her drop the chocolate chips into the giant Tupperware bowl full of fresh-whipped batter for her famous cookies. Once, she'd insisted on tasting the Crisco--it looked liked icing. It was a lesson in the disappointment of dashed expectations. Things weren't always as tasty as they appeared.

Back then, Mother was sure she was being helpful, unconscious of being helped herself--probably at some cost to the cook. But it was in that kitchen that she learned to measure, level, and stir, and to associate baking with love and acceptance. She never felt unwanted in her aunt's kitchen. Not once.

And so she tried to remember, when she found herself rushing to get things done--the floor vacuumed, dinner ready, the toilet cleaned before the guests arrived--to slow down for a few minutes to invite Pigeon into the kitchen to help her run the mixer to make the dessert; to be patient, to allow him to feel essential, and to enjoy him enjoying the lick of the spoon. Because you can learn a lot of things in the kitchen. That day, she was thankful for all she'd learned there.

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 11 {For Those Who Serve}

pigeon's uncle and cousins
On most mornings, Pigeon woke up after Father had already left for work. But that morning when Pigeon woke, there was Father. Snuggle me? Pigeon said, handing him a favorite book to read. And Father did.

Mother thought of Pigeon's cousins, whose Father had left for work that past summer, and wouldn't be home again for months and months. Their brave daddy was in Afghanistan, where he'd spend a dusty Christmas away from his family so that other families could be safe.

Mother thought of her sister, who was managing life on her own without the kind of help which Mother often took for granted in Father. Her own husband was busy helping others in that far away land.

Pigeon was thankful to have Father home for an extra day, but was too young to understand the cost to other fathers and families. Mother was thankful for the many brave fathers and mothers and daughters and sons, who were giving so much so that families like Pigeon's could have these sweet, simple moments on a Monday morning--a safe, warm bed, a snuggle, and a book.

Thank you, Uncle B! Thank you Aunty and Cousins!
We love you. We are praying for a safe return.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 10 {For Rest and Worship}

pigeon at rest in his father's arms : : 2011

On Sundays
they were thankful
for the gifts
of worship and
of rest.

: :
Blessings, all.


Friday, November 8, 2013

A Month of Thanksgiving: Day 9 {For Rivers in the Desert}

That Saturday, they went to the zoo. Pigeon stopped to stare at the animals he'd only ever known as drawn up or collaged in his story books. But he recognized them immediately, and said the name of each one with sweetness and love, as if he were meeting up with an old friend after a long absence.
As it happened, they had met new friends that day. The November sun was pleasant, the shade abundant, the company good. Sometimes the desert could surprise you. They were thankful to be refreshed.