27 November 2010
It's Thanksgiving time again and you are in my heart, as always. Uncle Carl said the prayer. First he did his school principal thing. I can't remember the words he said, but all the grandchildren responded with eyes on him and mouths silent. Even the adults were quiet. I was stirring the gravy, and so many people were milling around the kitchen, but Carl was close enough for us to see and hear him in his end of the kitchen where the table is. The food everyone brought filled the table and the countertops. Uncle Brad just finished carving the turkey. Aunt Amy made rolls over here the day before Thanksgiving; Aunt Jenny brought pies; Aunt Anna made two kind of potatoes. Well, maybe it was Uncle Alan. You've never met him, but you'll like him. He's a sweetheart. He brought his twin girls (just a couple of years older than you are) and his son Brandon into our family.
Uncle Nate set up the tables and he and Julia set up her beautiful centerpiece that she made in college last year. It hangs above the table--good thing because the table is covered with good food and beautiful plates. Grandpa and I got out our wedding plates with the silver bands around them as well as the ones I got from Grandpa Whitney (when he died 5 years ago), and also the ones with pink roses ones that we were using when you left. Everyone has been talking, laughing and having a good time greeting each other.
We were late starting because your cousin Zack had his tire blow-out on the freeway on his way over here. (Yes, he's driving.) Aunt Amy is still feeling a little shaky about that. Your mother Rachel is always on our minds at holidays and any accident brings that little tummy pit, thinking about how she was killed.
Back to the prayer. Uncle Carl thanks Father for our family and the bounty we enjoy. He remembers Mark and his family and asks that they will be blessed and know we love them. He pauses and Aunt Anna says, "And Shelby." Cousin Shelby is in Alaska this year, in her own apartment.
Carl asks, "Anyone else?"
"Matt and Erin and the girls," I say quietly. Your parents and you and your sister leave a big hole in any get-together. I wish I knew what you are doing right now. I wish you knew how much I love you. I wish you all could come and ride on the trolley and see the Christmas lights with us tonight. It's Julia's birthday today. Her 20th. She misses you so much too. We all do.
Happy Thanksgiving, sweet granddaughter. I love you.
Yesterday I found a magnet on the floor of the archive room. It must have slipped off the file cabinet. It is a picture of you as a baby. Grandpa and I took you to Kiddie Candids to get your picture taken in your blessing dress and with the beautiful handmade quilt your great-aunt Beth made for you. You're special to her, you know, because your mother named you after her. After her and my mother, that is. You have a beautiful name. I'm not sure if I like the way your new mom changed the spelling, but that's okay. New moms have new ways. I'm glad you have a new mom. I would never have wanted you to be without a mother to love you and hug you.
I remember those first weeks after your Rachel mom died. You were only 3 months old . I was up with you in the nighttime and walking the floors with you during the day. We kept a log of your feedings and your distress or calm. You were passed back and forth between Grandma Janis and I and also Aunt Anna and Aunt Amy so we passed your log along too. How we love you! We held you and we kissed your sweet hair and we cried too--for your mama.
This Thanksgiving we put your little cousin Alex in your old crib. My heart skips a beat whenever I get it out. It makes me think of you. It's been a long time since you've slept in a crib, but since I haven't seen you since you were a baby, I still remember you at that age and stage. How I long to talk to you and to know you now.
I'm thankful for you and for Addie, but my heart reaches out for you every day. I love you both and miss you tremendously. Until I see you again. (I have faith that will happen, no matter what your mom and dad do to keep us apart and only let you have one mother and one set of grandparents.) I'm here. It's Thanksgiving and you aren't far away and inaccessible. You are in my heart.
Love to you both,