I was filled with gratitude over the past Thanksgiving holiday weekend – grateful for the very first time in my adult life to have a full, four-day holiday weekend to spend with my family. After 15 years of Thanksgiving memories that usually involved turkey served on plastic plates in a noisy television newsroom, I got a little ambitious about maximizing our holiday freedom. “Let’s drive to Georgia!” I suggested. The five of us Shepherds, plus our dog, Stella, piled into the minivan and headed to the deep south to visit my husband’s mom and stepdad, known to the kids as “Grandma Susan” and “Grandpa Paul.”
As I predicted, the weekend involved incredible food, sunny Georgia weather, too many cookies and gifts from the doting grandparents, and a Thanksgiving dinner party with a fascinating array of guests, two of whom actually serenaded us with a living room folk concert.
For Clara, the biggest highlight of the holiday gathering occurred in the bathroom. Grandma Susan has a large whirlpool tub, and even before the dinner party guests left, my 6-year-old daughter began BEGGING to take a bath. “It’s like a fancy hotel!” Clara told me as she splashed in the bubbles and played with the fancy soaps. “Or a castle!”
As the dinner party continued in the living room, I stayed with her in the bathroom, watching her soak in bliss. Out of nowhere, she began a Thanksgiving speech.
“I am thankful for my family, for parents who take care of me, for water and soap and bathtubs, for grandparents…” Clara trailed off and I chimed in. “For your brother and sister?” Clara hesitated. “Well, for Daisy – and, okay, SOMETIMES for Calvin, for animals and for school” – Clara’s voice took on a sweet, lilting tone as she concluded – “And for all the lovely things we are given.”
“I am thankful for you, Clara,” I told her. She lifted her head from the bubbly water and smiled her sweetest, blue-eyed smile.
Yep. I sure am thankful for that girl.