(A picture of me and Rachel two years ago. It was her first time to get to attend the symphony.)
This year was my first Thanksgiving holiday without my children. I thought it wouldn’t be too hard. I’d see them the next day, and I could do much of my food prep uninterrupted. Wow! was I wrong. That day was hard.
Usually the Macy’s parade is on while I’m doing my cooking. The children will watch it and call me in to look at something they find really interesting. They always call me in to see the Rockettes. When I was a little girl, growing up on Staten Island, I wanted to be a Rockette. It was devastating to find out they had a height requirement. (I’m very small and always have been.) I’ve gotten over it. Besides, I’d never be able to wear those outfits with my garments. ; )
I tried watching the parade while I cooked, but ended up turning it off. It made me long for my children. I really missed them and it was only 10 in the morning! So, I turned off the television and jumped right in to cooking prep.
As they day wore on, I began to feel my loneliness more intensely. My mind kept wandering to the children. I wondered what they were doing. I hoped they were happy. I worried they’d be sick of Turkey by the time it came my turn to get to spend time with them. As a remedy I resolved to spend my time studying. I love learning. The children and I are learning Mandarin this year. Having the house to myself was the ideal time to practice.
I enjoyed that very much for a couple of hours, but then my eyes kept wandering back to the clock, counting down the time until I got to see them again. Finally the moment arrived! The kids were home!
After all the hugs and I miss yous, I asked the children how their meal was, hoping they wouldn’t tell me they don’t want to see anymore Turkey. It turned out their father didn’t cook. Instead, they ate at a Chinese restaurant (apparently the only restaurant open in the city). I felt bad for the children and could sense their disappointment. They however kept good attitudes and told me that now they are looking forward to my Turkey even more. Yay me.
On the following day, it was finally time for our Thanksgiving feast together. We went around the table each taking a turn saying what we were most thankful for. Rachel’s taught me a very good lesson about showing gratitude and showing love. She said, “I am thankful for many, many things about mom.”
Aside from the immense feeling of warmth and love I felt from her comment, I was surprised by something else. I desired to know what it was about me she was grateful for. I wanted her to tell me more. Was it the spending time talking together? Was it my trying very hard to keep homeschooling them? Was it how I try to be funny, but can’t pull it off? Was it the silly dances I do?
I wanted to know, so I could do it more often. I love my Rachel and I wanted to make her more happy. Which things spoke to her the most? I’ll do it as often as possible. That taught me a couple of things about appreciation. First, I wanted to be sure I always told my children the things I love about them. If I spent more time telling them the things I enjoy and appreciate about their character, they’ll keep doing them. This way I get to give instruction, without dwelling on the negative areas in which I think they need to have some growth.
Secondly, I realized when I tell Heavenly Father I am grateful for Him, I need to take the time to be specific. What is it that He does that brings me such joy? Tell Him. Spend the extra few minutes listing out what I love and treasure. What parent doesn’t like hearing how they are appreciated? Even a Heavenly one.
Here is one thing I love about Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I never have to worry about Him liking me one day, and hating me the next. His character stays the same. I know what to expect. I love His consistency of character. How about you? What do you appreciate about our Father?