I absolutely love Thanksgiving. It's been my favorite holiday for as long as always.
I love the prep work of the day before and the aroma of turkey cooking through the night.
I love waking and tuning the television to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
I love everyone arriving at my parent's home, kids all bundled against the cold and the fresh crisp air meeting the warm aromas as the door swings open wide.
I love preparing my grandmother's traditional cornbread dressing with my sister and mother, digging our hands elbow deep into bread crumbs and turkey broth to mix and churn until the taste is just right.
I love making wishes on freshly snapped wish bones and nibbling as we cook.
I love sitting around the table with my family, mountains of food before us.
I love the thanksgiving prayer when we remember a little clearer, a little more, how blessed we truly are.
I love fighting with the other women in my family over who is going to do the dishes - the one time of year I actually like doing dishes.
I love falling into couches and chairs, tummies expanded as far as they will expand, for games and movies and football.
I love how the daylight slowly creeps into dusk and the warmth of memories shared fills us up and sends us to our beds with happy hearts.
It's been a while since I've had a proper Thanksgiving.
Although there were many attempts during my years in South Africa, none of them came out to be quite what they would have been in the good ol' US of A.
So I'm excited to be home amongst my family for all those things I love just as they ought to be.
As I write, I'm sitting in the warmth of my little home preparing for a Thanksgiving of renewal and a Thanksgiving of purpose and perseverance. A Thanksgiving of remembering all God has done in the last year to bring me home and ultimately to bring Hannah home. A Thanksgiving of remembering the tiny and humongous mountains God has moved and is moving out of the way to bring Hannah home. A Thanksgiving of remembering how completely unable and inadequate I am to bring her home and to be her mother but how wonderfully capable and more than adequate our Father is to do the amazing and the impossible. A Thanksgiving of remembering Hannah's first Thanksgiving is just ahead.
I am so excited to tell her, to share with her my heritage, and to teach her about Pilgrims and Native Americans and thankfulness for harvest and life. I am excited to intertwine our heritages and celebrate our South African-Americanness. I am excited to cuddle on the couch in our pajamas and watch the parade with awe and wonder. I am excited to teach her to bake pumpkin pie and her great-grandma's cornbread dressing. I am excited for her becoming a part of our tradition and for us becoming a part of hers.
I may not remember this Thanksgiving as well as I will remember her first Thanksgiving. It may not stand out among the years of Thanksgivings spent amongst family and friends. But I'm prayerful to remember how the longing mingles with the thankfulness. How the not-yet-ness of motherhood mingles with the here-ness of being a mother. How this Thanksgiving is filled with thankful anticipation.
Maybe this is why I truly love Thanksgiving so much - thankful reflection mixed with thankful anticipation.
It's the almost completely uncommercialized pause in the middle of the busiest season of the year to remember and to look forward.
For my Hannah, happy almost Thanksgiving.
For you, have a happy Thanksgiving. I hope it is full of thankful reflection and thankful anticipation.