Every year I get cranky as we near thanksgiving.
There’s the dinner preparation with multiple trips to the grocery store. Concerns about overeating. The temptation of leftovers in the days that follow. Political fights at the dinner table. Worse, before the leftovers from dinner are even packed away in the refrigerator, the Black Friday flyers are waiting to remind us the Christmas craziness is about to follow.
I like routine and control. For me, both get lost in the holiday shuffle.
In the midst of my grumbling, though, I often remember the Thanksgiving morning I sat in the hospital with my fifteen-month-old.
Twenty-one years ago, my daughter broke her femur, a bone in the thigh. It happened while lying down and another young child took hold of her foot just as she decided to roll over. The twisted bone splintered like a healthy twig. Ouch. (I still shudder).
Somewhere between breaking the bone and emergency room X-rays, she’d developed a bad fever, common with broken bones. The next six days were spent sitting next to her hospital crib 24/7, where she lay in traction. Surgery could not be performed until the fever broke.
For the record, a one year old forced to stay on her back for six days is something I’d ever want to repeat, although to my daughter’s credit, she rarely complained.
Wednesday afternoon, Thanksgiving Eve, the fever broke. The problem? As the nurse explained, “Most of the surgeons have left to start their own Thanksgiving celebration. Unless it’s an emergency, you’ll have to wait until Friday.”
So, what’s a mother to do? I begged, pleaded, cried and made an all out pain in the butt of myself. All that mattered was getting home for Thanksgiving, even though we had none of the trimmings to fully enjoy the day.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday night, a nursed walked into the room. “A doctor said he’ll stay late to do your daughter’s surgery. However, he made no promises she’ll be released tomorrow.”
The next morning, as I waited for the verdict, I came to see how much the routine of every holiday really meant to me. No, I hadn’t shopped, cooked or had to the house clean for others, but boy-oh-boy did I want to.
This year, when I gather with my loved ones on Thanksgiving Day, I’ll remember to treat each second with the gratitude I’d felt upon our release from the hospital so long ago.
Happy thanksgiving! Please join me and share any of your own special thanksgiving memories.