Union Ridge Church

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

by Reverend Dan on November 30, 2022

Last week my jet-setting kids all came home to celebrate Thanksgiving with Sarah and I. Jarrod came in on Monday, Grace and Hannah and William came on Wednesday, and we celebrated an early “Thanksgiving dinner” that night at a local restaurant as they all had to be back on the road Thursday.

As I sat at the table, I was quieter than usual. My thoughts drifted to my brother, Tom, at home with hospice, and my mom who is recovering from a stroke. Still, I was able to sit back and enjoy being in the presence of all my kids at the same time because with them scattered across the east coast, that rarely happens. They talked, laughed, made fun of me for any of a variety of reasons (mostly for getting old), and for a few hours, the world stopped and nothing outside that room mattered.
Sometimes it’s hard to realize (or accept) that your children are adults and how quickly time has passed. But that bit of morose nostalgia is quickly overshadowed when you realize you have so much to be proud of. And thankful for. And with each passing year, the moments and the memories become more and more precious.
This year, unlike the years when they were little, we ate at a restaurant where the napkins were cloth, and the ketchup didn’t come in a packet you tear the end off and squeeze. But as I remember when we ate at places like that years ago, I realize no one can take those memories away. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.

Like the time I looked at my pre-teen son and said, “That’s great, son, but no one but your cousin Dorsey cares that you can put a whole hamburger in your mouth.”
Or the day I was in line deciding what to have and didn’t pay much attention to everyone pointing outside and laughing . . . until I realized Hannah wasn’t standing by me. She was outside setting our table. She’d put a napkin down, the wind would blow it away, and she’d put another one down. She was about 20 napkins in the wind before I realized what everyone was enjoying so much.

Or the day little Grace stood up in the booth, turned around, tapped the gentleman sitting behind her on the shoulder and offered him a bite of her macaroni and cheese for half of his roll.

No stories like that this time. Just the chatter of adults gathered around a table. But when the waitress came and asked if anyone wanted dessert, I’ll admit I secretly wished for just one more crazy moment with three little ones all begging, “Daddy, can we get dessert? I want ice cream!”

That night I learned that you don’t have to wait for a certain day of the year to thank God for the gift of life and all the blessings He gives us every day. It wasn’t Thanksgiving Day, but I was thankful to be with the greatest gifts God has ever given me: my children. And that night I realized that even though I wasn’t a perfect parent, I don’t seem to have messed them up to badly. They’re kind, generous, caring, committed, hard-working adults whose love I feel daily. But most of all, they all know Jesus Christ. So, that means at the end of the day, I accomplished the thing that mattered the most.

And for that, I am truly thankful.​​​​​​​