It’s dark in my living room tonight as I sit at the computer. Brian is putting dishes in the laundry as we listen for any indication that our boys aren’t sleeping. We are both filled with great amounts of food. The boys’ backpacks are ready for day care tomorrow, now carrying the requisite winter equipment. All of my most pressing homework is done, though I could always stand to get ahead.
It’s snowing outside. The little flecks sparkle around the halo of street lamp light. It’s too early for winter and we weren’t prepared. The scramble begins for winter tires and snow brushes. The highways were frozen for Thanksgiving (see above)–a weekend full of travel–but our tables were still filled with loved ones.
The snow quiets everything. The honking of the migrating geese is gone. The chorus of frogs in the pond near our home has long been quieted. Even the train is muffled beneath the blanket of white.
It is here, at the birth of winter, or the death of fall if that is your view, that I am thankful. Thankful for the deep quiet before I head to bed for the night, which is something I had never realized that I needed so much until after I had children. Thankful that there are children to break up the silence, children who are healthy and relatively happy. I’m thankful that my two boys are growing and learning and changing every day. At the same time, I’m thankful that they stay the same in some ways, that I can enjoy the little moments with them. Those moments where I admire the locks of hair that curl around Eggs’ ears, or watch Monkey sign “please” when he wants something, or seeing them pet the wary dog.
I’m thankful that we have a balance between busyness and rest, something I worried that we wouldn’t have when I started school. I’m even more thankful to be in school, and with a husband that supports me 100%. I’m thankful that I get this second start so late into my twenties and that it’s something that I enjoy.
This Thanksgiving is different than every other one I’ve had. Things have changed, which is bittersweet. Gone are the days where my cousins and I gathered around the basement of my grandparents’ house and played pretend. Gone is the kids’ table, the nicknames, the bickering. It’s been replaced by polite conversation and card games. But the past is still there, under the surface. Then someone brings up a memory and we are giggling about the time my brother didn’t realize he was texting my aunt, not our cousin. Or when we pulled each other in the little wagon.
Now there are new kids at the kids’ table. New little people riding in the wagon. We watch from the couches, the same way our parents watched us. It’s strange. It’s wonderful. We talk about jobs and children and the Blue Jays in between interruptions of cries and sticky fingers and the pat, pat, pat of children wanting to ask something.
My twenty-seventh Thanksgiving is very different from before. I wouldn’t change it, though I wouldn’t say no to a quick trip back to my seventh or seventeenth. Just for a day. Just for an afternoon. Just for a dinner.
This Thanksgiving is over. In five years, ten year, fifty years, I’ll be looking back to this weekend the way I look back now. I’ll be thinking about grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles with a drifting kind of heartbreak after they are gone. I’ll be missing the glee on the faces of my children as they were pushed around in the wagon. I’ll forget the things we talked about and the way that Monkey’s hair waved like wheat as he steered his way around the pool table. I won’t remember how Eggs was just learning to stand.
There are a hundred Thanksgivings behind us and another hundred ahead (give or take). Don’t forget to be thankful. Because they are only the same for a season. And seasons always change.