Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 - it's not just about thanks

There are forces in life that work to create motion; moving us together, driving us apart or simply pushing on fixed objects, often without effect.  These forces are by and large unseen, but always felt, consciously, unconsciously, painlessly or with great noise. When they are powerful, these forces are the center of our universe. Some of these forces are people we love.

I suspect our family is much like many American families where the women are the glue holding us together; the gravity creating the in the dip of the plane of space, with constellations circling around and coming together like quarters dropping into the center hole of the donation bucket at the grocery store. They are a constant practice of grace to one another despite our efforts to do otherwise.  They make us whole and have meaning.  No doubt the men are forces of reckoning, but they are not weaving the ties that bind, they just are not.

For the last 16 years, Heather has pulled our family together in one form or another around Thanksgiving.  These objects that tend toward stasis, drawn in by the power of her gravity. Whether that has been with 50 grandparents, parents, cousins, relatives, friends and neighbors in our apartment, or generously combining me in her family's traditions, she has made a web of life that we have clung to, grown into and become stronger in the course of.

With one exception, when Owen was sick and throwing up a couple years ago and Heather's sister, niece and parents had to turn around and head back to NH, she has never missed a Thanksgiving with her family. To me, is very much the definition of a force of nature. And to me, is who she is.

This Thanksgiving, however, was different.  My sister recently moved from Philadelphia to Washington DC for work. We felt we needed to go there and see her. My mother and father made it a full house and my side of the family came together for Thanksgiving, at least in my eyes, for the first time in years.

Sometimes when powerful forces are in close proximity there are unexpected consequences.  Holidays are like that - catalysts, accelerators, colliders, or just tempests in teapots.  Thankfully, we ate some turkey and sides (courtesy of Whole Foods with some doctoring a ala Sabrina McCormick, PhD), enjoyed a little wine, football, had a nice walk down the Mall (Meera had a no-nap-day-meltdown on the way back), and all learned a little bit more about what we're Thankful for in 2009.


Shannon- said...

Love it when you write. Always moving.

gaildtmccor said...

A beautiful post, Braydon. This was the best Thanksgiving ever for me. My grandchildren are so special. Kyle asks more questions than any child I've ever seen. Owen has truly remarkable sensitivity to other people's needs. How many five year olds would insist on giving their coat and gloves to a cold grandmother?? And there aren't words to describe how adorable Meera is.