It was the day before Thanksgiving, and Mikaela and I were braving the freeway madness to pick up two very special people from the airport. We were sweating over the traffic and trying not to get lost when Mikaela exclaimed and pointed to a sight neither of us shall soon forget. It was a ginger-haired young man, standing beside the side of the freeway, cars careening by him, with a bouquet of flowers and a sign that simply read, "Home."
Two weeks earlier...
The sun was still asleep when Mikaela left Mama and Papa at the airport for their flight to Atlanta, Georgia to see a specialist for Mama. She was scheduled for surgery the week before Thanksgiving, and we were steeling ourselves for the worst-case outcome. We could not have fathomed the miracles that God would work through her surgery. But in the meantime, when the van returned home without two of its passengers, we were just six kids on our own, canning quarts of applesauce and pints of tuna and feeling loved by our church family and missing our parents dreadfully.
That first week passed quickly, and Monday brought "The List" of Thanksgiving ingredients, as well as the mammoth shopping trip. Tuesday was a full day of teaching for Mikaela and I in which Melanie and Susanna managed to cook up a storm of Thanksgiving food, and Wednesday brought dessert preparation and that day we had been awaiting for two weeks: the day of Mama and Papa's arrival home! Mama's surgery had gone so much better than expected, the doctor in Atlanta was a Christian and the perfect surgeon for her, and God truly healed her body in miraculous ways. We were overwhelmed by all the answers to prayer. Still, she was in a lot of pain, and this we knew as we inched along the freeway, the exit to the airport completely at a standstill. Yet we still couldn't wait to envelop her and Papa in huge hugs of welcome.
"But isn't it wonderful," Mikaela commented exuberantly, "to think that in every one of these cars are people who are going to be reunited with someone they love tonight?" It indeed was a sweet thought, and that explains my tears for the hitch hiker.
At last, after an eternity of stopping and going, we caught sight of our parents. That vision of Mama on the sidewalk rushed a wave of homesickness over me, even though I had been at home these last two weeks. And though for us our Thanksgiving really began at that moment, the next day was precious beyond belief!
Papa gave a turkey-carving lesson, with Mikaela perfecting the gravy in the background.
Roasted brussel sprouts are a favorite Thanksgiving food!
Tasty dishes, with the requisite sweet potatoes on bottom that only two in our family even bothered with.
Garlic rosemary mashed potatoes! Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without the aroma of roasted garlic permeating the house!
Sparkling cider and a sparkling centerpiece created by Susanna!
The food was but the accompaniment to the star attraction of being together.
Gluten-free apple pie and Pioneer Woman's Pumpkin Gingersnap Caramel Pecan cheesecake. In a word: delish!
After stuffing ourselves with food, we went around the table and shared from our hearts about the abundance of things for which we were thankful. Then we cozied up to a fire and a wonderful story about Squanto by Eric Metaxas that Mikaela recently found. It begins, "Every once in a great while, the hand of God is easy to see, and for a brief moment, fairy tales and history are the same thing. This story is about one of those times." So, might I add, is this blog post.
The day would not be complete without a game, and the American version of Settlers of Catan fit the bill!
And there I'll leave this sweet story, with the fire still crackling, laughter still erupting over a game, and the warm aromas of turkey and garlic mingling in the air. Together at last, we were home.