November 26, 2014

On the Eve of Thanksgiving

Snow for Thanksgiving

The snow came this afternoon — fluffy wet snow that stuck to branches and tree trunks and eyelashes, covering my woods with a relentless beauty that was impossible to ignore. It’s winter here, the day before Thanksgiving, just two weeks since my sister’s funeral. I’ve been eating hot soup all day, lentil soup made with rice that a close friend dropped off yesterday. “I know that soup is your comfort food,” she said.

Tonight, we are gathered inside by the fire. With-a-Why, Boy-in-Black, and my husband are on the couch, watching something on With-a-Why’s laptop. My daughter is at the table, drinking tea and grading papers. Shy Smile sits next to her, laptop open. Sailor Boy is stretched out in the chair by the fire. The house has been full of family every weekend this semester, as we’ve coped with first my sister’s illness and then her death.

My son Shaggy Hair Boy and his fiancé Smiley Girl spent today driving. They left when it was still dark to drive to Big Midwestern City to spend the holiday with Drama Niece – and her boyfriend, who is still so new to the family that he doesn’t yet have pseudonym. I am happy that Drama Niece, who has flown here twice in the last month, won’t be alone for the holiday. When I get the text that they’ve arrived safely, I call my Mom to tell her the news and I hear her call out to my father. He’s been busy getting out the extra folding chairs while she bakes pies for tomorrow’s dinner.

My brother and sister-in-law will arrive in the morning. They usually aren’t here for Thanksgiving, but they’re changing up the tradition this year. My out-of-town sisters won’t be here: we’ll see them at Christmas. Blond Brother-in-law will come, of course, and he’ll carve the turkey, like he always does. We’ll see his three daughters, of course. Blonde Niece will sit by Boy-in-Black, Red-haired Niece will bring her boyfriend and possibly her dog, and Schoolteacher Niece will come with her husband and her six-month-old baby, who has red hair and chubby legs and the cutest smile.

When I talked to my mother earlier, we went over the plans for Thanksgiving dinner — who was coming this year, how many chairs she needed — and we talked about plans for Christmas Eve and for Christmas dinner too. We always do that, counting up family members, making sure we know where everyone is and who is eating where and how much food we need. We didn’t have to say aloud what we were both feeling because we both knew. So we talked about whether or not we should have peas in addition to green beans, and I told her that we had to include green peas because Boy-in-Black and Red-haired Niece both love them, and once we’d adjusted the menu to suit every family member who will come tomorrow, I put my phone back in my pocket and walked outside in the snow to see what sympathy cards the mailbox held today.

14 comments:

L said...

Oh dear... I'm thinking of you and my friend Jenna this holiday season.

So, so sad that your sister had just had her first grandbaby! :-( (sob)

Is s/he the first great-grandchild in the family?

I'm glad your son & his fiance drove to be with your niece and I hope they had safe travels!

I'll be thinking of you and praying for your family!

jo(e) said...

Thanks, L.

robin andrea said...

This post made me cry for your family, and this Thanksgiving, and what it means to gather today. Thinking of you.

Zhoen said...

So many people to share stories with, so much to be thankful for, to just begin to balance the loss, the grief.

Thank you for your writing, your family that you share here.

Annette G said...

So much in this post. Thinking of you, J.

Anonymous said...

Wishing your family peace and healing on this Thanksgiving day.

T.

Anonymous said...

Much love, Jo.

Lomagirl said...

I am glad you have so much love to get you all through the holiday season.

Val said...

Amanda said...

I am so sorry. Wishing you peace and the fluttering upon you of sweet memories as your heart can manage.

Cindy said...

Thinking of you during this holiday season.

Liz said...

I've been thinking of you and your family.

readersguide said...

Oh boy, this made me cry, too -- lots of love for the holidays.

Val said...

Love and comfort to you and your family, jo(e). This time of year right after such a loss is so hard.