Their headbands were adorned with construction paper feathers calling out the multitude of things for which they are grateful: my Mom and Dad, my family, my toys, God, my friends- the list was endless. More turkeys of all shapes and sizes spilled out of backpacks as the children emerged from the bus unable to contain the excitement that they were home. I watch the scene play out from a far but cannot help but see her- There was a time that was us. I could not help but be the one with open arms welcoming her little ones home. I could not help but feel her hand in mine as I watched them make their way up the road. I saw their work spilling out of the backpacks and could not help but think of hers.

My little one’s school week would culminate in a presentation of sorts- they’d saddle up to the counter and hold up each piece of work as a badge of honor. Evidence of a race run well. When the show was finished and the totality of work splayed in front of her, she would sigh- taking in all she had accomplished. I would ask of what was she most proud. This time it was her turkey telling us- “I am thankful for my Dog.”

Her turkey, like drawings and stories crafted this time of year, are steeped in the iconic symbols and traditions of Thanksgiving and serve as the reminder of where my focus should be directed- that my focus is not on the heavy days to come but on the moments that tend to my soul and sooth my fragile heart. The image of her turkey is a gentle nudge- a reminder for me to focus on that which I am grateful: Grateful for the time with her, grateful for the moments buried deep in my heart, grateful for the laughter and her sharp exhale of satisfaction, grateful for her hand in mine. Grateful for the warmth I’ve come to see in a smile and the comfort I encounter in a hug. Grateful for opportunities afforded and hearts shared abundantly.

This time I watch as it is my brave one slowly working his way up the road- another Thanksgiving has begun. As he approached, he exhales deeply, leaning over, he hugs me saying he was grateful it was the weekend. The split second moment caused me pause- He is grateful. I exhale and add his tender heart to the abundance of gifts for which I am grateful. Yes, for this I am truly grateful.

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