We have a close family. All for one and one for all. But I am especially close to my girls. We share the same taste in music, movies, style, and literature, and we have the same irreverent humor and sarcasm for life’s quirkiness. The mother-daughter bond in this family is pretty strong. Don’t get me wrong – I’m tight with my two boys as well, but it’s different with girls. I suppose it’s, well…a girl-thing: common passions, hormones, and interests. Life is just more enjoyable when the girls are around (my boys would agree).
Maybe that’s why Thanksgiving seemed so empty.
It was my first Thanksgiving without both of them. Ashley is serving a mission in Italy and Lauren is away at BYU in Idaho. Now, I’m independent and keep busy to a fault, so their absence hasn’t proved to be too much of a problem…
That is, until the day before Thanksgiving.
The day before Thanksgiving is a busy prep day. It’s a day for playing music, putting out table finery, and preparing food. Yes, the food.
With holiday tunes filling the air, some candles lit, maybe a log on the fire for added atmosphere, we don our aprons and commence a day of whipping up an assortment of our favorite holiday delectables. It’s family time at its best. My girls and I love working in the kitchen together – especially at the holidays. Maybe because there is more creating to be had. But we love tasking together.
I missed that this year.
My husband was working, and my two boys were helping a friend with yard work. I didn’t mind shopping on my own. It was when I came home that was the kicker. I brought in the groceries, set them on the kitchen counter, and turned around to an empty, dark house. I was alone. This wasn’t your normal “lights off and everyone’s momentarily out” sort of alone, folks. No.
This was an EMPTY alone. Solitude at its loudest. Sigh.
My girls were not there to fill the house with a delightful buzz, stimulating banter, and happy energy. They were not there to sing the songs or help with the food. I was alone. And I felt it.
Can’t we just cancel Thanksgiving this year? The thought did cross my mind. No. I corrected myself. It’s Thanksgiving. Giving thanks. I’m not just grateful for my girls. I’m grateful for my family. The girls’ absence does not diminish my gratitude. In fact, the works they are embarking upon only add to my gratitude.
So, before I began any food preparations, I stepped from the sinking swamp of self-pity, dried myself off, and took to the computer to send my missionary an email. Our wonderful era of instant communication – something else to be grateful for. I spent the next half hour or so telling her how much I loved her and the memories we’ve created. It was like she was there with me.
Then, I began texting Lauren (who was spending her Thanksgiving with grandparents on the farm in Idaho). I love texting. The most convenient form of spontaneous dialogue ever. Conversation with Lauren brought an instant brightness to my day. She had me laughing and reminiscing. This led me to text, email, and call a few friends and family members to wish them a happy Thanksgiving.
And guess what…I found that I was no longer alone. Funny how forgetting self and connecting with others is the quickest way of filling a void.
And, before I knew it, my boys walked in the front door.
“Hey mom, how about I turn on some music?” Landon said.
“Love you, mom,” said Connor, “What can I do to help you start the food?”
Now, no one can take the place of my girls, but this came pretty close.
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