A Grateful Smile

Not sure what gets my funny bone or a warm fuzzy going in me until it happens. It does not take much to make me smile or chuckle which I am appreciative of. I am heading down one of the streets in Barrie and the wind is up. The leaves are swirling and twirling around, like big colourful flakes. No I am not going to say the “s” word. Anyway I felt a big silly grin spreading across my face as I drove down the tree laden street. I felt like I could stop, get out of my truck, and hold out my hands, to catch the leaves in mid air. My granddaughter did that the other day. An invitation to be a part of nature as the wind becomes visible in its waking of the senses, a gust of cozy. Lovely.

Well it’s that time of year with my favourite meal being prepared. Turkey turkey turkey. I cannot believe that Thanksgiving has come and now gone with only the evidence of a lasting bulge in left overs inside the fridge from the joyous preparation of many hands!! Roast turkey, veggies, cranberries, yorkshire pudding, a bit of stuffing, pickle tray…yum ditty yum yum. And to top it off, a decadence of sweetness. Something about the sights and smells in preparing makes me giddy inside not withstanding an increased waistline. Of course all that work into preparing and then what happens. Turkey language is so apropos…gobble gobble gobble. Mowing in 15. Seriously. And don’t pat the tummy. LOL. Why does one eat so much dinner at one sitting. Dessert anyone? Hahaha.

I am recalling the weekend with a smile in my heart. There is so much to be grateful for and to remind me of welcoming the little chortles, special moments and witty instances wrapped in a weekend of thankfulness. Yet it is a smile wrapped up in a cocoon of paradox. For one, getting up at the crack of dawn on Friday morning of Thanksgiving weekend to head up to my sister and dad’s place so I can be with our 86+ year old dad who waits impatiently for the arrival of the captured audience….moi! LOL. Oh dad, I can retell your stories for the most part and when he forgets, I just give him a prompt. And then he goes off again. Am I a glutton for punishment? You bet. It just amazes me how one of his stories, unrelated and not even in same time frame, fits into the next ten or so stories repeated again over the course of the weekend….yeah been there done that love you dad. It’s all good.

I came early so that my sister, bless her heart, could go with her husband to his brother’s funeral on Friday and not worry about anyone or anything; just to be present. But then, in the next breath before leaving, she talks about Thanksgiving, who is coming, and what is being planned. At the same time as we look at Saturday with the family, I hear my dad say, “What the ‘H E double hockey sticks’?” loudly. His bag with his flange had leaked. And my sister who has been changing it for over two years, my mom for many years before her, was all dressed up (she looked lovely by the way) ready to leave. It’s you and me dad. Go sister, I got this. Well, I have changed the flange once. Yikes!

Needless to say, life has a way of throwing in lemons and oranges and apples….so juggle. ‘Git er done’ as my dad would say!! Let me just say, I am on pins and needles this week as I do not want my dad to be frustrated with my sister for leaving him to me. Because if the flange leaks before the seven days…..grrrr. The elderly have a way of making you feel oh so good bad rotten horrible then at some point loved. Yep. Hey so far so good.

My sister was getting cheeky with me the next day. Or maybe it was me with her. It is such a crazy feeling within when you go from a solemn occasion to setting the table for a family gathering with gratitude and thanksgiving on the menu. How does one jump from one excursion playing havoc with emotion to a polar opposite? Yet it happens daily for the most part. I guess it is the gift of life, a contrariness of a yin and yang in being.

Anyway, my sister knows I have a thing for clutter….next to none is my thing. We have shelves and cupboards and drawers for kitchen items. I like a clean counter for some reason. But my sister, it is not quite a priority, not even on the rung of the ladder so to speak. Needless to say I could not help when after cleanup from a Thanksgiving deliciousness that I spread my hands and torso across her empty island (hey I am clean) and float in the joy of tidy. It was like nirvana….praise the Lord for He is good… a big smile and chuckle on my face. She turns her head looking at me and knew immediately what I was doing. She did not find it funny at all (but laughed anyway). My brother in his helpful way took a picture of the bare island for me as I know when I visit the next time, it will be clutter a la carte.

Finding a way to have that grateful smile within. I think about my mom who I got to spend time with this Thanksgiving weekend, listening to her laughter, not saying much but her eyes did. How she could tell it was me as my face was covered in a mask and shield as Covid amongst staff is high an nursing home. No matter, I got the green light to visit. And so I babbled on, she fell asleep, I touched her hands, she woke up, I said hi mom, and repeat. I know she would not be partaking at the family table but she was certainly amongst us in spirit. And best feeling as I pushed her wheelchair to the dining room to go for her midday meal, I told her I would see her soon and threw her a kiss and a wave. She watched me and smiled and moved those fragile arms of hers up, doing the same to me.

And then to top it off, I got a little note from my 12 year old grandson (which I cannot believe how old he is nor that he is taller than me as well) saying, “I love you more than Thanksgiving dinner”. I am telling you. I read that late Sunday evening before I hit the hay. I send him lots of short notes (no narrative Rara) to tell him I love him. But out of the blue I see a text from him with that message. A grateful smile. No words. He knows how I love Thanksgiving dinner for many many reasons especially because we gather together….a table filled with love around it. He could not have given me a better gift of love as he knows me as I know him.

There is so much to be grateful for which reminds me to count ones blessings. The recent cataclysmic crazy work of Mother Nature has truly put an extreme demand on what one is to be thankful for. I am not sure some people are ready for that with all the suffering and losses. Thinking of those of PEI, there are still people without hydro. Then you turn on the national news and heart-retching stories from the havoc to what once was….how does one hold onto and be able to share a grateful smile? Give a smile to another in a humble thankfulness? I have no answer except to offer up prayers of hope, strength and courage.

I count my blessings every day even in the hardships. Life is a paradox which invites a grateful smile. Can I but see the goodness already present in my life? Oh I hope so. I truly do. Peace and gratitude to all.

Let us pray for those who are in need of our prayers and heartfelt warmth of gratitude for blessings present in our lives already. Amen

Published by karenpnd

Taking in life and enjoying what is around me. Retired educator who has realized the bounty of many gifts given while in teaching and working a board level, I have missed out on paying attention to my surroundings including human interaction. So I find myself wanting to write and share a pondering or two. And that leads me in giving blogging a go. Looking forward to meeting others along the way as companions along the journey.

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