Holidays. The single word holds so much.
Beautiful memories. Painful flashbacks. Vulnerable hopes. And impossible expectations.
For some, it’s twinkle lights and festive cheer.
For others, it’s a missing place around the table or the fears of reliving scenes and wounds from the past.
Few seasons hold such magical wonder beside such pervasive grief.
Ready or not, here they come. Or rather, here they are.
Several days ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving. My husband’s close knit family of eight plus spouses and two dozen nieces and nephews gathered together.
The days were filled with games and good food. Kicking soccer balls and shouting Pictionary answers. Sharing pie recipes and washing dishes. It was a grace to live life beside these treasured relatives for 72 hours.
The climax promised to be the big meal. The adults circled around one big table as the kids rushed off to more trampoline jumping and Lego building. We took turns sharing what we were grateful for. Jobs. Homes. Even football made the cut. But family. Family seemed to be on top of every list.
Near the end I had to step away. Because family.
We were all beside family. Laughing and smiling. It wasn’t taken for granted. Everyone knew and named the gift.
Still it was a given for everyone here. But my dear foster son.
He wasn’t beside his family. They were hours away and he wouldn’t see them this holiday or the next.
My tears were for him. And also for me.
Because I might see him this holiday and the next but having him as part of my family isn’t a given either.