This story is based on a family I had in counseling.
The preparations were underway for our family of 16 to have Thanksgiving Dinner together. It had been years since we were all together and between running to the airport, changing sheets, setting the tables and pulling out family recipes, my Mother kept wandering through the house, moving things around and asking what the food is for. I must admit, I was worried about how she would handle all of the commotion. She wanted to help but makes a huge mess and tried to angrily take utensils away from me. It was going badly. When everyone started arriving she started yelling until everyone stopped talking and then had nothing to say. It was going to be a disaster. The sidelong looks from my sisters made it all the worse. The next several hours were spent getting everyone situated and getting dinner ready. By now, Mother was at a fever pitch and kept leaving the room and slamming the door then coming out and not speaking. Finally, it was time for the turkey.
The kids were running everywhere but we corralled them to the kids table as the rest of us started taking our places and chattering about life around the dining table. Mother came in, put her hands over her ears and sat down. In the past, when we were all together Mother said the blessing but this time we all looked at each other knowing my brother would have to assume the role. But as we became silent my Mother said in an even, authoritative voice, “Let’s pray”. With her gray head bowed over her plate she proceeded to give thanks for our blessings and one by one named everyone at the table. As tears streamed down our faces we listened to our Mother give thanks just as she had most of our lives.
This Thanksgiving, take a moment and thank God for the beauty of aging and the promise that each and every one of us, no matter our age or disability, is loved beyond measure.