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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks

The Holidays.

Initially it was like losing a loved one.  Something my husband were all too familiar with, losing both his parents and his only brother by the time he was 30 years old.

Caramel's Placemat

I would wake up all confused not knowing where I am. That first minute or two of every day I spent working through the realization that I'm not in my bed at home, but thousands of miles away in a whole different country before I rolled off the airbed to start my day.  I felt destitute.  I felt thrown away;  uprooted!  Disjointed.  The fact that we still had to buy furniture and there were no pictures hanging on the walls, made it even harder.

Fudge's Placemat. She is so thankful for that pie!
(I took out our last name in the picture!)

Holidays are meant to be spent with family and loved ones.  Not an easy feat when you are living halfway around the world in a different hemisphere surrounded by people celebrating holidays we've never heard of before; speaking English with a funny twang while snow drifts in on Christmas day and I cannot even figure out how to get the fireplace started.

But a few years later the girls arrived and this terrible hole in my heart was filled with all kinds of possibilities.  Not only was it something that could be;  it had to be.  Because the wonderful thing about newborn babies are that they don't care.  They don't care what baggage you carry around or what fears or sorrows fill your heart.  They need you for everything and they take you just the way you are!  You ARE their everything!  In their eyes you are perfect!  It's like a good old swift kick in the butt.  Which, if I'm honest with myself, I sometimes need!

On Our Porch

Everything that became part and parcel of their life and their culture were, and still are, our responsibility to teach them.  Being the line leader in their life has been a tremendous privilege, fun and in one word plain simply "Awesome!"   I will take these days gladly knowing once they spread their wings to leave our nest I want to believe and know I did my best. 

On this Thanksgiving Day twelve years after getting off that plane with two bags of clothing and no idea what's lying ahead, I feel tremendous gratitude for my family in South Africa and my upbringing;  the values my parents taught me.  It follows me everywhere I go.  Without it I think I would've been lost.

Our Camelias are blooming

I'm thankful for hubby that stuck with me through thick and thin.  Goodness knows we've had huge ups and huge downs!  The day I met him I felt I knew him;  like he has always been there and always will be.  The missing piece that completed the picture.  I loved him from the very first time I looked at his smiling face next to me, helping me get that silly, old car started!  He IS the love of my life!

Then our little girls arrived.  My heart's ability to love and my sense of gratitude doubled that beautiful, bright, blue spring day they came.  They changed our lives forever!  Many days they will tell me how much they love me and I will hold their tiny little bodies while inhaling their loveliness and find myself speechless while staring into those beautiful, innocent faces.  The only thing coming out of my mouth a feeble attempt at expressing my feelings: " I love you sooooooooo  much!!!!"

Even though I can thank many other people in my life;  I thank God every day for these wonderful people.  On this Thanksgiving day I truly feel thankful and blessed to know them all and to share my life with them.