That’s what John used to say to me when I despaired over the disaster our home became after the whirlwind of our children passed through. Not a very flattering comparison but one I understood. And he just said it again because I had the luxurious gift of having my children home for Thanksgiving.
Baby, this manger isn’t clean.
How many glasses does one person need to drink out of in a day? Apparently it’s a minimum of three. Three times eight = twenty-four glasses spread out over the kitchen counter, the living room and mysterious places around the house. And that’s just before lunch. This place is littered with stacks of books and cozy blankets strewn haphazardly around. There are pillows missing. Empty bags of chips. Empty bottles of Ginger Brew. The two children who live in Spokane left this morning and I am discovering the remnants of their visit everywhere.
This manger is not clean.
I am so very glad.
It was a little different, this Thanksgiving. I injured my glut a few weeks ago and I’m hobbling around using a cane, which helps some. But I move slowly. And it’s kind of hard to focus. That said, no dish came out unscathed this year. Ooops! I forgot to add the broth! Oh, dang it, cinnamon was supposed to go in that! The turkey is filling the house with smoke! WHY? Yikes, I just dropped a mug and it broke into 100 pieces.
“Let’s play a game!” comes the cry from the other room while a daughter in law is cleaning up my mess.
I’ll admit it. I like to be on top of my game. And I’m so not. I kept telling myself that it was more important that I be present to my family than that the food was perfect. A perfectly prepared Thanksgiving dinner where the main preparer is taken out by exhaustion and the illusion of perfection is not what we gathered for.
So I gave up on perfection early on and reminded myself that the food wasn’t the point. Being together and loving one another was the point. The prayer, “Love”. “Help me to love.” “Oh Father, you who are perfect love, please fill me with your love and love through me” was one I uttered often. And he answered.
There was joy, laughter and the sharing of stories from the past year for which we were grateful. Love reigned and provided a rich background of feasting and the meal was, shall we say, the cherry on top. It was, as I most longed for, a taste of the feast to come. And I am so very thankful.
I am now surrounded by quiet and a whirlwind manger of mess that soon will be, like my children, gone. And I’ll take it.