Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On families

All this week, I've been enjoying conversations with friends, coworkers, and family about tomorrow. Too often, we gravitate to the food (but isn't it all so GOOD?) and shy away from talking about the meaning behind it.

I'm not referring to Pilgrims, Native Americans, or all the others who set the table and set the course. Nor am I, despite any excessively joyful expressions at today's early escape, talking about the lovely long weekend that lies ahead.

See, those things are all good, but they're the green bean casserole. They're the cranberry sauce, and not the kind with toasted walnuts and fragrant bits of orange zest. They might even be the turkey. But they're not the mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes are my "if I somehow ended up in the pokey and was headed down the green mile, this is what I'd ask for" food.

In life, the families we build are the mashed potatoes. I was blessed with a good family at birth. But I moved away. I see them several times a year, and it's wonderful. I keep their photos on my desk at work. My brothers may be in their 30s and 40s, but they are still "the boys" and probably always will be.

But over the past 18 months, I've slowly been growing a new family. It doesn't replace the first. Never could, never should. Yet, there they are: people I would want at my table tomorrow, if only geography were a little kinder. People who open their arms and their hearts and say "home."

Who are those people for you? Do they know?

Hello, everyone,

Yesterday was a "cry day." I tackled what used to be my computer room (and ultimately became a closet) and began bagging up stuff...bags of what has become trash, and bags of brand new toys for Toys for Tots. And I cried. And cried. Everywhere I look, Sahara's stuff jumps out at me.

Last night we went to see the Lady Redhawks play for the first time this year. What I didn't expect was to nearly lose my breath when I walked into the gym...the last time we were there was for Rick's show last December. And before that, Sahara played ball there.

For about 10 minutes it was just about more than I could stand, smelling the popcorn she loved so much, seeing the people we always sat with at games in the past...but I stuck it out and made it through the game, which the Lady Redhawks won. They are now 4-0, and I'm thinking that Sahara is guiding the team. :)

The "firsts" are so hard. Everything we used to do as a family, we must now do without Sahara. And it sucks.

But we have to face the firsts and keep going, because she wouldn't be pleased if we did otherwise.

Now we have to get through Thanksgiving. Sahara LOVED Thanksgiving...all the food, playing with her cousins, being at Sissy's house. She was looking so forward to it this year. The main things she wanted were ham and apple pie. So, I think I'll make an apple pie today. Iknow my sister will have the ham covered. LOL.

While we are grieving so much, we still know how blessed we are. Thank God for Sahara - she made our lives complete and was a bright light for so many others. We are still receiving beautiful cards from people all over the world. We are still hearing new funny stories about our sweet girl. We are so thankful for the wonderful 13 years we had with her, although it could never be enough.

I'm thankful for all of you who have given donations to Mississippi Valley Therapeutic Horsemanship. What a God-sent organization they are. Last week they sent me a photo of Sahara riding, and I'm going to post it when I get the digital file. A picture is worth a thousand words, and you'll see why. They have renamed the horse she was Candy, now she is called "Sahara's Candy."

How cool is that??? I know Sahara is smiling about it.

We all need to be more thankful...we should stop taking so many things for granted, though in our busy lives it is so easy to do. Surround yourselves with people you love and who love you back. And try to do some good each day, no matter how great or small.

Safe travels to all who are hitting the road for the holiday. We wish each and every one of you a blessed, peaceful Thanksgiving.
With love,
Amy and Shannon