The oldest boy frequently amazes me. I had always thought of him as being a rather sober serious person, but I am now realizing how very funny he really is.
And indeed he can be serious - he gave a powerful eulogy at our mother's memorial service, dropping names like Augustine and Blaise Pascal into his speech as he painted a verbal portrait of her in his summary of her life and what she meant to us.
And then, well, there is the goofy side....
Just about every time we have gathered for a family photograph, at least one of the shots has me with my mouth wide open, laughing hysterically....
at something he is doing....
And here we are again, with a cousin who I have not seen in a very long time who came for the service.
I am so thankful for the younger boy. He has a tender, compassionate heart. I am so thankful for all the things he has done for dad and mom over the years, how he continues to look after our dad now that he is alone, and how often he uses his skills as a plumber and maintenance man to take care of things for him around the house.
And here he is making a funny face while doing the dishes at the recent party he and his wife hosted at their house for our father's 85th birthday. Sulking, apparently, because he has to do all the work.
When it comes to my sister, well.... I can hardly come up with the words to describe how much I love this woman and how much she means to me, and how thankful I am she arrived on the scene. I forgave her a long time ago for getting into my nail polish and Evening in Paris perfume when she 4 years old and I was 13. She helps my father keep the house clean, she plants flowers in the yard and takes care of them, and she helps him with paying the bills and other little jobs around the house. She did an amazing job organizing our mother's memorial service.
But my thankfulness goes beyond just my brothers and sister. I am acutely aware of the people they married and brought into our family, and how important these people have become, and I am most thankful for the choices my brothers and sisters made.
One friend I used to have married a man who was a member of a large family of sons, and she often shared stories of unpleasant things that happened at these large family gatherings where enmity was rife among the brothers and their various spouses and occasionally resulting fistfights. And just last Sunday, our pastor asked for special prayers for their safety on Thanksgiving day because they were going to her daughter's house for dinner, and she was afraid of one of the in-law's who is really an out-law - emotionally volatile, violent, abusive to his wife and children, and a drug user.
I am thankful my extended family is not like that. My mother was acutely aware of the trouble that can brew between children and their spouses, and when a bit of trouble seemed to be brewing, she would say, "We are not having that in our family." None of these people are perfect, but they have all worked very hard to maintain harmonious relationships. There is no sense of impending dread at the thought of being at a family gathering.
I have two amazing sisters-in-law....
and here they are sitting on each side of my sister and me.
And there is a wonderful brother in law as well, here whining because we wouldn't let him pretend to cheat at Kings in the Corner.
All of these relatives by marriage showed their true mettle when our mother became ill. They treated her as they would their own mother, and were an immense blessing to her and my dad.
Finally, of course, I am thankful for the life my mother. About 4 weeks before she died, she wrote to a woman she has known for at least 50 years...
I'm glad that God has created a variety of everything and He wants me to be like He created me to be. I don't have to try to be like somebody else to please Him! There is a variety of seasons in our lives, and in each one we grow, learn, and change. I'm preparing to "move on" into the first step of heavenly and eternal life! Some of the earthly treasures I've collected have already gone on ahead of me and will be there to greet me. Others, like you, will be arriving a little later and what a time of rejoicing that will be!!
Yes indeed, I am thankful.