The most difficult Thanksgiving I remember was when our daughter Rebecca was about 2-years-old. My husband Dave, Rebecca, and I were planning to make the 10-hour drive to his parents' house for Thanksgiving week. However, Dave started having severe, and unrelenting gall bladder pains the week before. After days and days of pain (and symptoms you don't want to know about), Dave finally went to the doctor. The doctor decided Dave's gall bladder needed to come out immediately. Usually laparoscopic gall bladder surgery is outpatient, with several days in bed at home after, but Dave was convinced that as soon as he was released after surgery, we'd still make the 10-hour drive to visit his family. My parents drove over for the surgery that morning, and I had friends checking in on me. But, after the surgeon came out after surgery and gave Dave the "all clear," my parents headed south to spend Thanksgiving with my brother's family, and nearly all my friends headed out-of-town as well. Supposedly, I would be taking Dave home just as soon as he woke up in Recovery.
But, that's not what happened. Dave just did not improve after surgery. His "levels" were all off (whatever that means), and he was not recovering like the doctor wanted. So, they kept Dave overnight. And they kept Dave another night, and another. He ended up spending a WEEK in the hospital before he finally recovered. (a complication from a wayward gall stone, and not from the surgery.)
I'll never forget how lonely and overwhelmed I felt that week. Especially the night before Thanksgiving. My 2 1/2-year-old Rebecca was NOT one to sit still for long--and especially in a boring hospital room visiting her daddy. I had taken her to the hallway to walk around that evening, when she decided to pitch a major tantrum right there in front of the nurses' station. I leaned down to try to pick up my screaming child, to take her home to bed--and when I pulled her hand to help her get up, she started crying even more. I ended up scooping her up and just carrying her all the way to the car. When she continued crying, I figured she was exhausted, since it was past her bedtime. I changed her into pajamas at home, and put her in the bed. She quickly went to sleep.
However, I knew something wasn't right when I checked on her the next morning. She had not MOVED the entire night. My all-over-the-bed child had slept on her back, and now wouldn't use her left arm. I'll never forget calling Dave's hospital room that morning, telling him I thought Rebecca's arm may be broken. I'll also never forget that lonely feeling of walking into the Emergency Room early that chilly Thanksgiving morning--all alone. Well, all alone with my hurting 2 1/2-year-old. Checking in all alone, and explaining three times--to three different people--how the evening before I had pulled on my daughter's hand to help her get up, and now that arm seemed hurt.
Right away, the nurse called her arm a "Nurse maid injury," which she was quick to explain is an injury caused by the child's caretaker. In other words--an injury CAUSED by her MAMA the night before. Her mama, who was all alone on Thanksgiving--while her very sick husband was three floors up, in the same hospital. It was almost too much for me to handle.
Thankfully, the doctor was very kind. He could see from the X-ray that Rebecca's arm wasn't broken; her elbow was dislocated. He also explained how in children her age, dislocated joints were common, and no cause for any alarm. While I was holding Rebecca, he told me not to worry, she would cry for just a moment--and he POPPED that elbow right back to normal. Sure enough, Rebecca screamed out, and then she calmed down, and then she smiled and started using that arm as if nothing in the world had happened to it.
My sweet, and now well-rested and now non-injured, happy daughter and I walked hand-in-hand up to visit her daddy that Thanksgiving morning. Poor Dave--he felt terrible. He really didn't even want us there visiting. He just wanted to sleep. So, we hugged him and headed back home.
And then. Then my dear friend rang my doorbell at home, and brought me 2 Saran Wrapped plates of Thanksgiving love. If you live around here, you may have heard about Miss Charlene's cooking. And if you have, you understand how my terrible day--my terrible holiday--suddenly got a little better.
Even though I didn't eat Thanksgiving dinner with Carissa and Charlene and their family (even though they had invited me), I felt like a part of their celebration as I ate their turkey, and their mashed potatoes, and their salad and their yummy dessert. Even though I was eating that plate of food alone at my kitchen table, I felt their love.
And that love, and that plate of delicious food, nourished my body--and my spirit--that Thanksgiving day.
This story reminds me...how much a Saran Wrapped plate of food can mean to someone. Especially someone alone, on a holiday.
Do you know someone who would be blessed by a Saran Wrapped plate of Thanksgiving love this year?
It's such an easy gesture. Yet, it means so much to the one receiving it...