Yesterday I was trying to remind my children of the purpose behind Thanksgiving. Today I am the one being reminded, and what a blessing it is.
Last night, realizing that the one hundredth errand of our day involved a trip to the grocery my eight-year-old piped up from the backseat, “I want to get some flowers for my teachers.”
“Why do you want to buy them flowers?” her sister asked a bit too sarcastically.
“Because I like them,” came E’s firm reply.
“And because it is the time of year we give thanks for things like nice teachers,” I added, recognizing a teachable moment. A moment when I might be able to remind my girls that it is not just about turkeys and trimmed trees, wish lists and wants but rather what we have to be thankful for and what blessings are in store as we round the corner to Christmas.
However, once inside our neighborhood market, my positive mommy mood evaporated as I rushed around grabbing baking ingredients for my middle daugther’s school “coffee house” the next day. My hungry stomach growled and my mind raced through the still long list of things to be done. Standing in front of the feeble flower section I tried to convince E to go with the budget priced, albeit sad looking, carnation bouquet. Ever a woman with her own ideas, she wanted the roses – long stem – “twelve please.” I argued for the less expensive option, peering into buckets for the cheeriest bunch. E stood her ground. Given my day (which had included a two hour wait at the pediatrician’s, a trip to the mall to find leggings for a picky thirteen-year-old, and several phone calls with my mother’s oncologist) I was in no mood to argue. We bought the roses.
Hours later, the remnants of another demanding day behind me, I fell into bed with a heavy heart. In just four weeks my work load, and stress level, had increased exponentially with my mother’s cancer diagnosis. Verging on being too far away to live on their own but so far unwilling to admit it, my parents had been thrown another nasty curve in an already dreadful year full of falls, surgery, rehab, and downsizing. Searching for what we could do to help, my siblings and I were scrambling to come up to speed on things like Medicare, home health and assisted living.
Thanksgiving, usually a time of feasting and relaxation was already shaping up to be lousy with emergency MRI’s, insurance authorizations and medication side effects. Black Friday, typically spent shopping with my brother, king of deals, was already set aside for the “talk”, during which we hoped to convince my folks of the need to hire help or, better yet, move near one of us.
Sleep, when it came, brought a few hours of relief from all the worries that had been weighing me down this past month. But with the alarm this morning they were back, barking orders at me: “call the insurance company; check into the health care advocate angle; finish the laundry and pack the suitcases.” I stole a few minutes of peace at my computer before hitting my morning job as chief cook and bottle washer, to see what the cyber waves might hold in terms of encouragement. I was not to be disappointed. My friend’s daily devotional, “ChristCompels”, hit my inbox at just the right time.
I knew that Shirley, one of the authors behind ChristCompels and a busy working mom of three, often wrote and “mailed” her devotionals late at night so they would be the first email messages of the following day. This morning I could see why as I let her words coach me, as I had coached my girls the day before. Her message this day, “Let us come before Him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 95:2) was undoubtedly my Heavenly Father’s reminder to me, to buy roses, not carnations, for the things in life I give thanks for.
Roses for my Father above who has never left my side.
Roses for my own, my husband and my children’s health.
Roses for my siblings and their encouragement and help.
Roses for my children’s doctors, teachers and therapists.
Roses for my friends who have listened empathetically to me vent about my parents issues and offered up prayers.
Roses for my cyber-buddies who have lead us to a place of healing with our youngest daughter.
Roses for my daughter’s birth family who chose to give her life despite the prevalence of abortion and infanticide as an easy way out.
Roses for for my husband who has loved me for twenty-two years and counting.
Roses for my beautiful daugthers, each a gift from above.
Roses for my mother’s oncologist and his nurses who are the “best on the east coast”.
Roses for the other Irish dancing moms who, in my absence, will take my oldest daughter to the regional championships in Chicago, housing, feeding and encouraging her as if she were their own (go McTeggerts!)
Roses for each child who performed and/or served at the middle school “coffee house” this morning. My face hurt from smiling so much at each talented performance.
I could go on, but I will need more way more than twelve roses.
Who, or what, will you buy roses for this week?