Monday, October 14, 2013

Thanksgiving

Whenever I have a big family dinner I imagine giving a heartfelt speech at the beginning of the meal, a la those Hallmark family movies. But I don't because I tear up too quickly. But, if I didn't tear up then this is what I would say.

I am grateful for the thirteen of us that sat down for dinner yesterday. Into my tiny little house we figured out how to sit us all around a table with a mish mash of plates and cutlery, cloth napkins and glassware. Mis-matched chairs, and hand me down table cloths. It was perfect.

To my brother, John, who sweetly served me a plate of food, while I soaked my burned hand in water. Thank you. You have always been there for me and our friendship, sister/brother relationship is very special to me.

To my sister, Wendy, who told me to breathe, found me some tylenol, peeled brussel sprouts, brought pickles and made the gravy. Thank you. I know Thanksgiving has always been your favourite of holidays, and I was happy to host it at my house this year. You are my rock. I am so grateful to be on this journey with you as such a big part of my life.

To our dear friend George. I have known you as long as I have know my dear husband. You were the best man at our wedding lo those many years ago and I am so grateful you come to our noisy family gatherings. You are family to me. You are family to my kids. You are my husband's best friend. That means the world to me.

To Tate, my great-nephew. You give the best hugs in the world. Bar none. And you always give them spontaneously and you seem to know exactly when I need that hug or cuddle.

To Ripley, my great-nephew: your stories, your sense of style, your Ripleyness, gives me faith in the future generation. You teach me that being an individual is the perfect thing to be. Always.

To my nephew John-John. Your sense of humour. Your quiet support. Your great laugh. Your podcasts. I love watching you parent your boys. And thank you, thank you for moving furniture and drying dishes. You are a star.

To my dear brother Bill. In your quiet way you make me feel so loved. And you give great hugs. Your heart is huge and I am so glad there is room in there for me.

To Debbie. You are such a star for holding your own in our noisy family. I am so glad you have been a part of my brother`s life for the past two years (exactly this weekend). Thank you for the delicious pies you brought to our dinner and for your incredible laugh. I love that laugh.

To Arwen. Thank you for the wonderful salad and for washing all those dishes. I love your stories. You are such a great mom to your boys and wife to your husband. I love your writing and your passion for your careers. You make my life better for knowing you.

To Dex, my nephew. Thank you for holding the space for all the missing cousins (Ellen, Kyle, Mitch, and Harry) this year. Thank you for all the furniture moving and for being wise enough to suggest we remove the glass before moving the table. Your quiet presence is always welcome. Your connection to my daughter is special and I am thankful for it. It was so much fun watching your reactions to your dad's crazy stories. And, I promise, your secret is safe with me.....

Dear Roger. You are a good friend. I was the best man at your wedding and it is one of the biggest honours in my life. I love your stories, your sense of humour, your gratefulness and your paella! I am so glad to have you in my life and when you sit at the table at one of our noisy, crowded family dinners I always know that your appreciation is absolutely genuine. That is something I have always been able to count on with you.

And Brian. Saving the best for last. Or maybe it is the hardest because how do I thank you for all you have done for me over the past few months. You cleaned (despite your sore knee and shoulder) and shopped and prepped and cooked. You rubbed my sore back, and fretted for me so I didn't have to. You helped me keep going despite a sore back.

You try the new recipes and make sure we have enough wine glasses, and wine to go in them. It was your idea to have the dinner this year and it was a good one. You have put up with my noisy, crazy family gatherings for 38 years even though I know at times we can be a little overwhelming.

And I think I speak for all of us present that we are all thankful you have found a way to prepare brussel sprouts that makes us all want more than the requisite two!


And even though my two children were not there physically, they were there in spirit. I am grateful that my son called us from Edmonton as he was cooking his Thanksgiving goose (one he raised himself!), and I am thankful I could support my daughter over the phone line while she stuffed and cooked a turkey with friends in Halifax.

I am blessed.

For all my friends whom I love and who love me, I am blessed.

I hope those reading this are able to count their blessings today too. We are some of the lucky ones.

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