Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving in Quarantine

It's Thanksgiving weekend.... and it couldn't come at a better time. My 10 year old baby has influenza, a "novel strain" it seems and this is day 10 of low grade fever, aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, and a persistent cough. My house smells of lysol and I've laundered linens and slept in my living room to give her my bed most nights.
John Lennon wrote lyrics to this effect, "Life happens when you are busy making other plans..." The unwelcome virus visitor postponed our weekend plans to host our welcome visitors, the grandparents from the Great White North. But we managed to make the best of it anyway. While Emily slept, John and I did our own turkey trot for a couple of miles on an unusually mild Thanksgiving Day in Iowa. And never in 47 years have I ever sat down to a Thanksgiving dinner just for two. It was wonderfully unique, relaxed and a mix of  nice table with a measuring cup for a gravy boat because I couldn't find a real one as easily. "When I was his age..." that would not have happened AT ALL. Nor would we have taken 50 minutes to sculpt Kinnick Stadium out of mashed potatoes. Nor would a Beatles greatest hits cd be the background music or us in jeans and t-shirts...
"Thanks for all you did to make it a fun holiday, Mom," said my 13 year old at the end of the night.
Sweeter than pecan pie.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Simple Gifts

It's been a few weeks since I've much going on. This week's view from the porch is my yard full of fallen leaves that need to be dealt with before my neighbor guys Richard, Marv, and Joe perform an intervention. However, it's the inside of the nest that has required my attention and time lately.
I'm "nesting" these days. Fighting the good fight against the onslaught of clutter that is a daily battle.
I'm also preparing to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, at 47. It is about time.
I've been seduced by pumpkin spice coffee and reading Facebook updates of my friends who are doing a daily gratitude journal. We share many of the same sentiments - except I am noticing the growing number of classmates who are grateful for their grandbabies. I'm a middle school mom and I do have moments of disbelief when I see those darling kids. I'm not there yet and when I am, they will coo over mine as I am now cooing over theirs.
I'm grateful for my two amazing children who fill my days with life. I am grateful for simple things like clean drinking water right from the faucet, a warm and safe home for my family, and money to feed them well.
And a clean place to use the loo... Did you know it is International Toilet Day? And for good reason. Sanitation is a huge public health issue around the world. (NPR Science Friday...home with a sick girl yesterday.)
This year, I am most grateful for relationships. I am so fortunate to have an incredible network of friends and family that support me and my kids in so many ways. And I hope that I can be at least as good a friend to them.
I've learned an important lesson in the past year. It is ok to ask for and accept help. That's a hard one for many of us, I suspect. And I have been able to offer help to others this year. New friendships have developed and long standing ones have been strengthened. When we ask for help, we allow others to give help, a tremendous gift for everyone involved.
Between shopping for the upcoming holiday, knitting away at L.Doone pillow cushions, combatting clutter, putting the finishing touches on tomorrow's Sunday School lesson, listening to Hawkeye football, I will be holding those relationships closely. And giving thanks.