After an extra half hour of waiting for the turkey to finish cooking, all 10 of us; including my 4 children, their 3 significant others, my sister, her granddaughter and I were gathered AND the food is ready.   The makeshift family table of 2 small tables, unevenly matched and covered with a plastic table cloth with dark blue background and green bamboo shoots, stands near the center of the dining/living room with 6 chairs and an old futon couch for seating.  We all stand around and hold hands for the blessing, each adding what they are grateful for that day…or passing.  7 out of 10 choose to share and we end with “amens” and an “aho” from me from the native American tradition.  In a busy, yet semi orderly fashion the group cycles through the kitchen to the array of steamy dishes on counter tops and stove, finally settling down to a mostly overloaded plate of food.  “Ranch dressing?”, my son asks for his girlfriend.   “oh, sorry only have “Mom’s” dressing of good seasons Zesty Italian and lemon juice.

After all are seated and only clanking silverware and smacking mouth sounds (mostly my son’s) are prevalent, I ask everyone to consider sharing either a reflection of something they’re grateful for from the past year, something they’re doing now that moves them or a hope or dream for the future.  More sounds of eating with a quieter tone.

As plates are nearing empty from the first round of food, my eldest daughter’s fiancé looks at me from down and across the table and asks, “What’s your most embarrassing moment?”  I respond, “you all get to share yours if I share.”  Some smiles break through chewing.  As I share my moment I get some interesting faces of surprise, disgust (my bathing suit top flipped up and off my breasts after coming down the waterslide at Justin’s Waterworld) and we continue around the table as we all share a moment; carefully choosing which one is safe to reveal here.

Then someone said, “when I get angry I…”, and another round of sharing ensues of how we handle anger.  Watching the faces of each and their respective partners tell more than the words as we venture deeper into revealing more of ourselves in this Holy moment.  Although not completely safe from ribbing from peers honesty prevails nonetheless.

Finally, my sister invites, “what about your happiest moment?”,  and the weight of the previous round is lifted into lighter, more joyful sharing of precious memories with loved ones connecting, being born and reconnecting after long separations.

As we move from the dinner table to dessert and some friendly rounds of charades, I feel just a little bit closer to all who came and somewhat redeemed from some thoughtless words previously shared with my son’s girlfriend who is now carrying my first grandchild.

What am I grateful for this Thanksgiving?  A moment in time given as a gift to each one to see deeper into each other; maybe finding a little of ourselves in everyone.

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