Thanksgiving ~ Truly

I remember a past Thanksgiving spent sitting in the seat of the airplane, winging my way out to the East Coast. This wasn’t the plan I had for my Thanksgiving Day. I was to be at my mother’s, lounging in my pajamas, and watching old movies with her while enjoying the delicious aromas reminiscent of childhood. But there I was alone with my thoughts, after driving in the wee hours of the morning to catch a flight that was hurriedly booked late the night before. Providence had smiled on these circumstances allowing such a late reservation the good fortune of being inexpensive.

The call came late morning the day before, while in the midst of a busy workday. It was one of those calls that can cause a mother’s heart to plummet, a call that set my life in a holding pattern. The baby, due in two weeks, his first son, was in distress. I must confess the initial tears that sprang to my eyes were neither out of love nor concern for my unborn grandson, his mother or my son. They were purely selfish. The previous 4-years had been filled to the brim and breaking point with stress. I had come through a marital break down that led to a nasty divorce, and had just finished closing on my new home the day before. A closing, I might add, that had red-tape nightmare written all over it. No, the tears were not from concern of my family, but concern of my own self. Could I really handle any more strain or would I simply implode upon myself. Taking a deep breath, I attempt to gather my racing thoughts and let out the breath, which I was unaware, was being held.

My co-worker and friend, who’d been there for each of the earlier stress filled events, simply put her arm around my shoulder in comfort and said “It’s OK, it will be all right. You CAN do this! It’s OK to be selfish for a moment.” Concern for the baby as details emerged changed tears from selfish ones to those born out of love of a grandmother and mother. Calls made back and forth still left no resolution by the time I left work…I was hopeful that everything would resolve itself and my well laid plans, for a relaxing Thanksgiving, then an evening with my boy friend and upcoming visit from out of town guests would not be way laid in the domino fall of an emergency trip. The fateful call came on the way home; my son needed me to be there. What mother could refuse when their child, no matter how old, needed their strength? Pushing my mental exhaustion aside, my mind started reeling and making plans for everything that I needed to accomplish before a 5:00 am departure the next morning.

Being a person who makes lists and plans to great detail and checks them off as each is completed, a last minute trip like this had my practical brain scrambling. My M.O. was to plan a trip months I advance, not hours. Could I really get everything ready to go AND manage to get some much needed sleep? Years of travel with lists loaded firmly in my memory, my mind shifted into a mechanical mode, all the while waiting for any news. Everything completed as needed, ticket purchased ~ check, pack ~ check, cats taken care of ~ check, last minute work items ~ check, last minute calls to out-of-town guests ~ check. Calls to my own mother, who has a wisdom that I rely on assured me, that my place was with my son and his family. With everything completed and worry abounding; a nightcap needed to quiet my jumbled mind and relax my tenseness. So, in the spirit of the season, hot eggnog with a little (OK, maybe a lot) Captain Morgan and a hot bath…into the arms of lovely sleep.

I remember while flying somewhere over the U.S., towards the East coast, my mind began to calm as I looked forward to spending the time with my son and his family. Baby would be fine and beautiful and of course greatly loved. I thought about this holiday called Thanksgiving and pondered, Thanksgiving, what does it truly mean? The answer the day before would have been automatic ~ dinner with family and the standard answers to “What are you thankful for.” Yes, there would have been be dinner with family, not with whom I had planned, but with my son and a daughter-in-law I have not yet met, and in just a few short days later, a new baby; a first son and grandson. What was I thankful for ~ so many things. I was thankful for my parents, who have stood by me the past tumultuous years. I was thankful that I had been gifted the love of a most amazing man. I was thankful for my two sons who share the same weird humor that I have and who can share most anything with. I was thankful for the deep friendships I have. I thanked God for my life, in all its messiness, unplanned events, and yes, even its stress. For these are the badges of life.

Thanksgiving ~ Truly to me is being thankful for who you have, what you have and where you are in life.

Avie Layne 2012