"Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, [And] into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, [and] bless His name. For the LORD [is] good; His mercy [is] everlasting, And His truth [endures] to all generations..." Psalms 100:4-5
We have a family tradition. As much as tradition goes, it's not really noteworthy. It didn't start in a funny way, or really have a back story to it, but still, it's ours. We always have J & V here as well as whatever family is still in town. J & V started coming over because my friend, their daughter, would make the rounds at her in-laws for the holidays. It was just the two of them (later adding N to their clan) and it was just *our family* up here. It seemed only natural to have them join us. Afterall, I've been best friends with their daughter for almost 25 years. When this all started we still had our family down south. B has to work every Friday after Thanksgiving, so we have always had Thanksgiving here. It's grown over the past couple of years to include my mom and brother and now my sister and her family. Now it's "what we do". And we love it.
We've also come to love J & V very much and we share a lot of our life with them. I know they feel the same way. When we found out Charlotte was sick they, from a distance, loved us very closely. On Labor Day weekend, or thereabouts... while I was still pregnant with her, they hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner for us. Knowing that it very well may have been our only Thanksgiving with her in our world, they went all out. They had a full traditional meal (pies and all) just to give thanks to Him who created her. It meant so much to me. Much more than I think anyone knows.
Anyway, as with any tradition, there are the *usuals* that we eat. One of them being my own recipe for macaroni and cheese, praline sweet potaotes and my mom's recipe for ambrosia salad. These will be found at the *Big Three* holidays. Always.
But today, as I was making the sweet potatoes, I added a secret ingredient. Ok, not so much literally, but perhaps one small one... of my own tears.
I stood at the counter and was caught in the moment. My children were whizzing about the house, so excited for the *feast* that was to come. Little hands were being traced to make colorful roosters, my ears were filling with the sound of worship music and singing from my husband. I was totally immersed with thanksgiving. The baby in my womb, that occupies the place that my Charlotte did, was bouncing around, letting me know that yes, I am thankful for him too.
Tears were dripping, my heart was full. I was overcome with the emotion that... my gosh, I miss her, yet it is ok to go on. And as much as I want to be over it, I never will. B walks by and sees me crying and asks "are those tears of joy?". And in my heart I sing "Yes".
"Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; Sing praises on the harp to our God, Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who prepares rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains. He gives to the beast its food, [And] to the young ravens that cry.
He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, In those who hope in His mercy. Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For He has strengthened the bars of your gates; He has blessed your children within you. He makes peace [in] your borders, [And] fills you with the finest wheat" Psalms 147:7
Thank you Jesus, for your precious gift of life. Both here on Earth and into Eternity with You.