Our Thanksgiving was loud and quiet, peaceful and chaotic. We spent time with my sister and several of my brothers, and enjoyed their children.
Four or five of my immediate family come down with a stomach bug. Right after hanging out with everybody, whom we likely exposed. Hashtag sorry ya’ll.
Thanksgiving was about embracing dichotomies: those here and those not here, the received gifts and the longed for, the symphony and the dissonance.
For me, it was about embracing the foster child who painstakingly listed all our names as “My Family” on a school project, and the foster child who, given one blank to write what he is thankful for, wrote “My Mom.” And it wasn’t the one who kissed him good night last evening and got him his medicine this morning.
Thanksgiving was about sitting with that longing and desire for a few moments, knowing that although this is a broken world, one piece of his heart is just as it should be.
Thanksgiving vacation involved of days of unending noise and engrossing child care, and pockets of quiet tucked in between so I did not lose my mind. The Boss (who is no longer The Boss, congratulations Shari) was super sweet about giving me short times away. Otherwise I am pretty sure I would be in prison by now.
At my foster daughter’s insistence, I drew pictures for her to color some days, because apparently Disney coloring books aren’t customized enough. Here is our family portrait. I like looking at it.
Mother looks pregnant but I assure you that is not the case.
We look like we never fight but I assure you that is not the case either.
I like how we are captured, all smiling and together. I believe it makes me as happy as a real family portrait by a photographer, but probably not quite. But it is a version I can share with you, which is something…
Advent has begun at the Zooks now, with tiny drawers full of surprises, in a calendar we enjoy and reuse. In each box I put a sweet treat (or a clue leading to it), and a note about the day’s activity. Play a family board game. Attend a child’s birthday party. Play in the snow. Share a dinner we each help cook. Cut paper snowflakes.
Here’s a sheet of this year’s ideas. You will notice that we have activities stretching into the New Year – that is because at this stage of family life, holidays off school when everyone is home are intense, and we need ideas more than ever for how to spend our days in peace.
See if I were smarter, I would have told you all this some time ago, so you could have bought a wooden calendar if you wanted to. Still available. Be my guest. But it’s now December 6, which is a parable for how not to advertise, and also a nutshell case study of Shari’s life since October 19 when little man and his sister arrived. A day late and a dollar short. I wish it were the biggest thing I’m dropping, but it’s not.
Advent also means I pulled out Watch for the Light, a favorite Advent readings book that I started last year but did not finish.
And I bought myself a Christmas gift for the first time, accidentally, because I saw a cheese Advent calendar at Aldi and fell in love. I wanted to buy one for everyone in my life, but settled for buying one for me.
Completely out of character, and I am savoring each bite.
The Red Pesto Gouda was particularly fine.