Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.
Normally I'm much more prepared than I am this year.
Normally I've gone out shopping days before, written out my menu, cleaned the house -Well - JUSTIN'S cleaned the house.
This year is a little more scattered.
Because I've been so sick, for the last few days there was even a question as to whether or not we'd just go out for Thanksgiving dinner.
The list of possible recipe ideas I've had over the last couple of weeks has been whittled away slowly with slash marks until all that is left are the old traditional stand by's that take no thought to prepare. The list looks like it's been censored.
I threw out the brussel sprout ragout with caramelized onions. I was sad about it, but caramelizing sounds like too much work. We'll just thaw out some corn.
I even threw out green bean casserole for a simpler green bean with almond slivers and lemon juice.
And the house looks like a bomb went off.
There are clothes on the living room floor that have been just left in the place where they were taken off last night in exchange for pajamas.
There's a half empty sippie of grape juice tipped on its side on the stairs.
And there are, for some reason, stickers EVERYWHERE.
I removed about 15 from the back room area rug this morning.
But still, it feels like Thanksgiving.
There's something in the air.
Some sort of restful peace.
Really, when I think about it, I've had several less-than-perfect Thanksgivings in the last several years.
Like the first Thanksgiving after I had Alena when I bundled her up in an adorable little outfit and schlepped her over to her dad's house, planning on a joyful time with this new little family we were trying to figure out, only to discover another girl's name and phone number scrawled on a piece of paper on his nightstand.
Only to discover he wasn't ready for a new little family.
I spent that Thanksgiving crying while two beautiful 4 month old eyes looked at me, confused.
Or the Thanksgiving right after my parents got separated, where we decided to have Thanksgiving at Justin's house.
He and I were still dating.
His house was neutral ground.
I would cook and all would be merry.
At least I hoped.
But both of my parents came and the mood was heavy and difficult.
And as if that wasn't enough, the oven decided to go out and would only cook everything at a 500 degree temperature.
The smoke alarm was constantly going off.
We could hardly see each other for the smoke.
I think the turkey was done in one hour.
And then there was last year when my dad was headed to meet us all in Chico at my brother's and never showed up Wednesday night like he was supposed to.
Then we got a call Thanksgiving morning.
He'd decided to leave later than he'd planned and was heading out that morning only to get in a head-on accident in Sonoma. When he called, he was just stepping out of a steaming wreck.
The other driver was dead at the scene. He was being taken to the hospital. His foot was crushed. We were all in shock and left immediately to be with him at the Napa hospital.
It was horrible and scary.
It taught us what Thanksgiving is REALLY about.
We ate hospital cafeteria salad bar for Thanksgiving dinner and then stopped at the Jack In The Box on the way back home.
Justin got called "El Guapo" by the woman in the drive through window.
All this, and still Thanksgiving is so special to me.
It still makes me warm and happy and so so THANKFUL.
I have so much I don't even deserve.
I have a God that loves me and shows me every day that I am never alone. That I am seen and heard and cared for.
I have a family that, through it's occasional dysfunction, is there for me when I need them. A family that made me who I am and I like that person.
I have a husband, that, though he has absolutely NO knowledge of relatively common song lyrics, does have a knowledge of me and accepts me for it. A husband who has made my life full of laughter and given me my children.
OH - The children.
It's hard to explain how those tiny beings could simultaneously make you want to hold them forever and also make you want to eat your own eyelashes, but they do.
I have the three most amazing, beautiful, creative, funny, fun, entertaining daughters on the face of the earth.
They stress me out and make me scream, but they also just MAKE ME.
I cannot imagine a world without them in it. How boring it would be. How lonely.
I am thankful for every maple syrup kiss.
Every walk to a bed with a warm, heavy, sleeping body on my shoulder.
I'm thankful that I'm able to read a story a thousand times.
I'm thankful that I was chosen to receive these precious unfathomable gifts.
I am thankful that, even if it is scattered with stickers and juice cups, that I have a home and that it's warm on cold nights.
I am thankful for friends - and I have some great ones. Friends who are there when I need them. Friends who show up.
I am thankful that tomorrow, no matter if there's smoke or tears or rapid-cook turkeys, that I can know that at the end of the day I will join hands with the people in my life who are more precious to me than life itself and give thanks where thanks is due.
My heart feels full.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.