Our Thanksgiving meal is over, but I couldn't let the day slip by without expressing my gratitude. "I'm thankful that I have more kids than can fit around this table," I said today when it was my turn. It's true, isn't it? Every year we are deeply grateful for the ones we love the most.
I set out to write a "Top Ten Reasons to Be Thankful" but under the circumstances, I had to stretch it a bit.
13. Robert (aka Captain Fun). The summer of my 19th year, a (very) few guys showed up at my door to take me out every now and then. When Robert didn't appear for a while, my dad spoke up at dinner one night. "Whatever happened to Robert?" he said. "He was the only one I ever liked." My feelings exactly.
12. Mom Dot. I blogged about her earlier this month on her 87th birthday, but there is always more to say. She buys KFC every Sunday after church and McDonald's every Saturday night so the Captain and I can go out. (You need that, she says. She's right.) She would fund a fast food Thanksgiving if I would allow it, yet the dog takes more medicine than she does.
11. Rob (aka Tiger). My oldest--the one I grew up with. A reader, a writer, a role model to his nine siblings, even though the younger ones barely know him (he and Hope are nearly 25 years apart, after all). Married to Becky, in graduate school at University of North Dakota where, they both admit, it is even colder than Vermont.
10. Becky. So thankful for this woman who married my firstborn. She is industrious, frugal, and creative. When she joined our family she gained four new brothers and five new sisters; she embraces them all so beautifully.
9. Bethany. My oldest daughter--we grew up together, too. Poise, grace, tiny in stature (half of her siblings tower over her and the other half eventually will); also graduate school bound. Sister of the year; volunteer of the year--she teaches Sunday school, coordinates Upward cheer-leading and recently sang the National Anthem at the Richmond St Jude Thanksgiving walk. (Did I mention she sings like an angel?)
8. Matthew. A poet and musician who observes everything around him. Matthew came in from West Point last night. I ache for my parents to see it, to know it, to visit that awesome campus with us. The best way to describe Matt? "A watched pot never boils," I once said when he was barely a teen. "But a neglected one boils over," he replied. Mom Dot tells me I will never find the end of that boy.
7. Ben. Outgoing. Fun. Diligent. Wired for work. Whether it's taking out the trash or cutting the grass, he really doesn't mind. In fact, he likes to work. He is graduating in the spring and ready to get on with it. Mom Dot says in her next life she wants to be Ben. Oh, and he has perfect teeth, too.(The dentist said so himself.)
6. Mary. Mary is a server. Whether it's dishes or cleaning or (oh, yes) rubbing my feet, she sees what needs to be done and does it. She swims, she runs, she flies over hurdles on the track team. And she effortlessly puts out an impressive number of chin ups, too.
5. Emma. She runs. And runs. And runs. A disciplined cross country runner, I often find Emma and five or six siblings in the den floor doing her core workout. Captain Fun joins them when he's home. (I hide on the stairs until they are done). What kind of sister is she? Today at the Thanksgiving table when we said what we were thankful for, Dorothy simply said, "Emma."
4.Cory. Even though Cory turns 13 in about ten days, Hope can still turn him into mush. He has a quick wit and a great sense of humor (he once wore a chicken suit to school). And one day you might just turn your television on and see SIMS on the back of a pro football or baseball jersey. Okay, I know every mother thinks that, but, as one of his coaches said recently, that boy is a natural.
3. Dorothy. She takes up for the underdog, values her friends and has endless patience with baby sister Hope. And Mom Dot says she was born to perform. I agree. In fact, I don't know how much longer I can resist putting Dorothy on YouTube singing some song with her jazzy alto voice. I apologize ahead of time.
2. Silas. Sid the Science Kid or maybe my absent minded professor. Last night around the dinner table Captain Fun was telling a tale of his mischief with Bunsen burners in chemistry class. Silas was taking notes; I could see the wheels turning. Stay tuned.
1. Hope. She is everybody's baby. She turns two just after Christmas and since everyone is raising her, I am really only partially responsible for how she turns out.
When I tell folks how many people live in my house, they often respond, "You've got your hands full!"
Full. I love that word. My hands are full. And right this minute my stomach is full. My house is full, as is my laundry basket, my sink and my lap most of the time. But most of all, my heart is full.
Hope your heart is full, too. Happy Thanksgiving.
Ten of my thirteen reasons.