Full Nest, Full Heart

Today’s rain fit my gloomy mood as early this morning the last of my birds went south. The westward bird flew yesterday and the nearest bird on the western shore left Friday for a friend’s 30th birthday party. But, what an incredible four days we had all together, beginning with my birthday dinner, cooked by my children. James turns 26 on Monday, (he is finally off my health insurance, but that is another story) and sadly, I won’t be with him for his special day. We certainly did have fun celebrating our family all week though.

The magic of Thanksgiving is that it is all about the joy of being with family and friends, and sharing our grateful hearts. No gifts to wrap, no light strands to untangle, no cookies to bake or stockings to stuff. It is both relaxing and reflective, even more so than on New Year’s Eve. It is the best of all the holidays wrapped in one long and buttery meal, with leftovers that last all weekend. It is like luxuriating in a nest of love, in a satiated state, for a few wonderful days.

This year we had a big crowd of extended family and needed two turkeys. I won one at the Gunston School Bullroast silent auction and it was the best fresh turkey we have ever had. And, the second, we deep fried with thanks to a friend’s deep fryer, and Kelsy and Steven’s perseverance. As I write, turkey soup is simmering on the stovetop, a fire is roaring, and Jim is watching the Ravens. Both of us are feeling thankful for the fullness of our lives, while also feeling just a little exhausted. 

I literally ran the dishwasher twice daily for a week, and the laundry was non-stop. Yet, I would not trade the busyness and happy noise for anything. I fell asleep each night to the lullaby of my children’s voices lingering into the wee hours. A jigsaw puzzle, created from a personal vacation photo, was completed with one missing piece, which miraculously, and suspiciously, showed up on the table a day later. 

Now as I gather the towels and begin to put my house back together, I am reminded of Anna Quindlen’s opinion piece Flown Away, Left Behind in Newsweek in 2004. In describing her eternal role as a mother above all else she wrote: Three rooms empty, full of the ghosts of my very best self. Yes, each of my children possesses a small part of me, and always will. That knowledge is reassuring and heartwarming.

My full nest this week resonated with the laughter of childhood memories that only siblings can share. It also resonated with all of our hopes for the future. I wish for you and yours a warm holiday season. And, may your nest and heart be full.

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