The Day After . . .

It’s actually “the day after the day after” because we had two Thanksgivings:  one where we brought a honey-baked ham and all the fixings to my elderly inlaws (because ham was much easier to transport than turkey) and then the other, yesterday, when we roasted a turkey and made Greek stuffing for the teenagers who were banking on tradition. The things we do for family!

I wish I could say I loved every minute, but there were moments when I was really cranky.  Husband tempered that with his good-natured sense of humor — and I was able to mostly let go and find joy.  This morning, with all the crazy in the rear-view mirror, I’m grateful for all of it. Funny how that works.

Holidays bring you face-to-face with the realities of family.  One the one end, we have aging parents who are figuring out how to live out the rest of their days; on the other hand, we also have teenagers who are trying to figure out how to live their days ahead. I get why we are called the “sandwich” generation. It’s a bit of a squeeze.

There was the long conversation with my mother-in-law about how hard life is right now. My father-in-law is 94, she’s 82 — and they still live on their own. They’re ready to have someone else take care of all of life’s details, but getting there requires energy that they are finding hard to muster. I listened. And then I listened some more. I don’t know how to best help. Listening to her was such a lesson for me . . . at 58, how will Husband and I negotiate the demands of old age?

Then there was the conversation with our oldest daughter, who is considering transferring colleges and is figuring out her life. Again, I listened — desperate to make the life changes easier on her.  I can’t. Listening was the only gift I could give her last night. I pray it was enough.

Today, like families all over, we will re-group.  I have grading to do — and a food pantry ministry at my church where I can help in a tangible way. We have a garage to clean out — and I’d like to pack up some boxes of books for donations (I swear I have a book problem). And we have enough leftovers to feed an army. I’m hoping everyone is really hungry today.  Tomorrow, our eldest flies back to college for finals — and the rest of us will get ready for Monday morning, which comes way too fast for my liking.  It’s the mother of all the “days after.”




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