Everyone has a cold. Well, not everyone, only enough people that it feels like it is taking over.
I, for instance, am well. But the feeling of sickness is creeping up on me with every sneeze of this ghastly child, who, though picturesque in her red dress and combed hair, keeps coming up near me to afflict me with that which ails her. She rubs her nose on my arm or touches my hand with her germ soaked fingers. She sits very near me and then coughs in my face, sometimes gently, sometimes robustly. When she eats she has to stop and breath heavily in and out. And when she sits still, the noise of her puffing fills the whole space. As Fatty Lumpkin would say, "Ewwww".
It seemed an interminable wait for dinner, on the very day of Thanksgiving. Everyone sat around exhausted and waiting, having to watch the weird dancing singing and dancing of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then after that, Football.
We've lately noticed that there can't be anything on TV without some kind of song attached. All the local PBS cartoons (which we sometimes watch on holidays) now have songs in them. Even Arthur. Gak. So you can imagine how irritating it was to try to watch the parade, when there was actually no parade, but only "brief" numbers from Broadway Musicals which ended up not being nearly brief enough. But we watched anyway, because it is our Civic Duty. And also we all wanted to see Santa Clause.
Matt's mom set the table and did the flowers. She made little
individual arrangements for each place setting and then five down the
middle, with votive candles all down the center of the table. It was so
Very sensibly, she did all the flowers on Wednesday, and Matt did all his chopping. I, on the other hand, had various little temper tantrums about the fact that I had to do any work at all--like laundry and pies and bread. By the end of the day it occurred to me that while I had been wandering around in sweatpants shouting at children and complaining in my own mind, everyone else had been cheerfully industrious and that they had all done their work and were allowed to go to bed after a relaxing glass of wine. Whereas I, after taking the baby to the doctor for her Well Baby, would either have to stay up very late, or get up very early. After more fussing, I opted to get up very early.
The baby, by the way, is Very Well. She is fat (for us) and Very Tall (for us). She is in the 53rd percentile for height which makes her our Khloe Kardashian.She whined and moaned and eventually threw herself down on the floor screaming about having to be weighed and take off her shoes and socks and wait in the room and then, when it finally came about for her to have two terrifying (I thought they looked scary) injections, she didn't cry at all. She gazed narrow-eyed at the nurse and then picked in a desultory way at her Angry Bird Band-aid and shouted, "Mayiee, Baouwou", or, as it could be translated, "Mommy, Bottle."
Here she is with Marigold waiting and waiting and waiting for food. It seemed very hard to leave anything ON the table, like the water or the flatware. The water had to be poured on the floor six or seven times and then wiped up.
And also, the dollies had to be put on the table, even though they were supposed to be left to sit carefully against the wall. It was very hard to decide who should have the pink dolly and who should have the purple one.
For a short time, though, Marigold and Fatty Lumpkin felt that they would like to say "Cheese" very loudly and be photographed. And Elinor liked to grin in an awkwardly strange way, saying "cheese" for a long time. In the end, everyone over the age of 8 was glad not to have to eat with them, what with all the pouring of water and shouting and crumbling of food.
But Romulus and Gladys didn't mind. They sat to be photographed for a moment and then went back to lying around in the living room watching the excessive TV singing.
The boys agreed to wear vests but not ties. Elphine really wanted them to wear their Sunday jackets and lobbied both me and them for a good 35 minutes before giving up and deciding that it didn't matter that much. I was just grateful that they sorted it out themselves.
And that's what the whole day is about, isn't it? Gratitude. Gratitude that we have so much more than enough. Gratitude that God has given us work to do that is fruitful and satisfying. Gratitude that Good Shepherd is thriving and deepening in faith and knowledge and love of God. Gratitude that our children are So healthy and curious and interesting. Gratitude that the table is so pretty and the food is so perfectly cooked. Gratitude that I can be married to a man who cooks the whole dinner while I whine about having to make A Whole Pie. Gratitude that his parents come all this way and do really lovely things like buy lots and lots of paper towels (what a luxury!) and wine and then tickle the babies and encourage Elphine to be the young lady longs to be.
And then finally, after a long day of eating and drinking and talking, I was grateful to sit down.