It was July 4, 2018, and most of the family had gathered at my brother’s house. I can still hear my mom say, “We need to plan for the October birthday party.” She always enjoyed family time, and she had a huge smile on her face, but that smile slowly faded as one by one she heard excuses on why they couldn’t gather and some just remained quiet. You could hear the disappointment in her voice when she quietly said, “We may not be around to celebrate together again”.
My mom unexpectedly went to be with the Lord on September 18, 2018. We did not gather to celebrate the birthdays, but we did gather to celebrate my mom.
My mom loved celebrating all holidays. Easter, 4th of July, Birthdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Mom enjoyed it when the whole family could be together. As her grandchildren grew and had families of their own, the celebrations became fewer. I know it bothered my mom, but she understood that other families were now involved and so the grandchildren needed to spend it with them as well.
Let me walk you through Thanksgiving Day at my parents’ house. As you walk into the house you can smell a wonderful array of flavors filling the room. mixture of Turkey, ham… and oh is that sweet potatoes I smell? Mmmm. You can see Turkey and ham in the oven, (mom was a vegetarian, but she took care of us meat lovers) Corn, green beans on the stove, potatoes getting mashed, dressing off to the side, and gravy being poured into a bowl. Oh, and let’s not forget the deserts, man, could my mom make some amazing deserts. Pumkin pie, apple pie and pecan pie. I am getting hungry just thinking about them.
If I am the first one to enter, I see mom at the stove working away and dad clearing off the table, as soon as they hear me come in, they stop what they are doing and come and give me a hug. If I am not the first one, I open the door to laughter and I am greeted with several hugs. My mom was a quilter so she would set out all the fall quilts she had made. A runner and placemats for the table. Fall quilts over the coach and other furniture. She also collected tea sets, so she would pull out a few teapots with their matching creamer and sugar containers and display them around the living room.
I am grateful for the time I had with my mom. Especially considering I was a rebellious youth. I am grateful that as I grew and matured, I realized how much my parents loved me and I tried to return that love by spending time with them and calling them. My mom and I talked daily over the phone, and I would surprise them with unannounced visits. Of course, this was easier to do when I moved closer to them. I used to live several states away from them.
Thanksgiving isn’t the same without mom there. Past few thanksgivings those who could attend would bring food. We would have good conversations and enjoy time with dad. Mom loved to cook and loved to share that gift with others. I will forever be grateful for the thanksgivings with mom and the wonderful memories that were made. I will continue to make memories with my dad and be grateful for this time I have with him and family.
This coming Thanksgiving, enjoy the time with family and never take it for granted, because someday, unexpectedly, it will be like my mom said, “we may not be around to celebrate together again”.