I knew it! I knew all of you wanted to know what the busy rakers in the last post looked like from the front. And because I am a giver (a THANKS-giver! Ha ha ha!), here they are!
Here are the Boys, plus Lovely Girl, plus a bonus Special Girl, plus Husband, plus a very, very disheveled-looking MomQueenBee. This is what happens when pictures aren't taken until just before everyone leaves, when I am limp with relief that the food was ready to eat at the proper time, and that no one got sick, and that this was the BEST Best Day of the Year.
Because it was.
In spite of the frizzy hair and flushed cheeks as I faced the camera, I couldn't stop smiling. I know how very rare it is to have all of us together, and how the rarity of these moments is only going to increase. And so I made a conscious effort to be mindful of the joy of the Thanksgiving week.
I cherished having all of the leaves in the table for four full days, and picking up another gallon of milk every time I was in the store (and I was in the store every day).
I loved seeing our grown-up kids get along, and I wanted to time-travel back and tell myself as Mother of Teenagers Who Fight All. The. Time. that they're going to turn out fine, even if they never outgrow being cutthroat board game players, because someday they finally will be able to lose with (mostly) good humor.
I marveled at having so many girls in the house. We could almost outvote the boys, if one or two of the guys were off taking naps. I mean no disrespect to the men in my life, because my love for them is deeper than the ocean and wider than our new president's credibility gap, but I have learned that I am a complete sexist when it comes to entertainment preps. On the night before we hosted 35 for Thanksgiving dinner, the Girls organized set-up and decoration of the eating space while I made roll dough. It's not that the Boys and Husband wouldn't have been delighted to do that set-up (they were enthusiastic members of the crew), but I seem to have more innate trust in the outcome when the supervisors have Pinterest boards.
I basked in having friends give thanks with us who had never been at our annual feast before. The grown children of my father's lovely wife; my Saudi Arabian student T and his family, which included a 40-day old baby. (I laughed and laughed when, having tasted at least a dozen Thanksgiving-only delicacies, T. declared his favorite was "the one with the crunchy stuff on top." Yup, good ol' Green Bean Casserole.)
The day was not perfect. We missed Much Older Sister and her family, who were on pins and needles awaiting the arrival of an overdue grandchild. And of course, no Thanksgiving will ever be perfect because Mom won't be making the rolls.
But this? This was as close to perfection as we'll get this side of heaven.
This day is still the best.