Giving thanks for family too - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Giving thanks for family too

I must begin this column by going back to my pre-Thanksgiving “Along the Way.” In that piece I invited you to prepare for the popular holiday by naming the blessings in your life for which you are most grateful. To prime the pump just a bit, I mentioned several blessings for which I would be giving thanks.

You can imagine my chagrin when Sister Mary Ann Binsack, who is kind enough to proofread drafts for this column asked, “Could I ask you why you included your family among your blessings and then crossed out that item?”

At that point, I had no explanation to offer. All I could say was that I intended to include them, and thought that I had. Sister retrieved the handwritten draft. When I saw that, I realized what happened. At some point in the writing, I had crossed out the entry about family — not because I had changed my mind about them, but because I wanted to relocate that blessing among those I had listed.

When we gathered for our family Thanksgiving meal at Doug and Margaret McMahan’s home (Margaret is niece No. 4 and my goddaughter), we had some fun about my omissions of the family. Bottom line: They believed me but bumped me around about it — at least a little bit.

It was a joy to be with them again. We had a near plenary session. The only one missing was Grace who joined her fiancé Michael Hastings in sharing the festive meal with his family.

The children were a particular delight. The members of that generation now number eight and range in age from nearly 13 down to 20 months. The two oldest and the youngest are girls. We had a run of five boys between them.

As you can imagine, they were full of energy. They always are, but it could be that that energy was driven up a notch by all of the sugar-loaded holiday treats available to them throughout the day.

I must say (you’ll forgive avuncular pride raging out of control!) that, for all of their energy, the young ones were very well-behaved. Very little pestering of their moms and dads. Virtually no “Mom, tell him to stop!” complaints. There was one moment of intense protest by my 4-year-old grandnephew, Kevin. He was having such a good time that when his mother and dad decided it was time to go home, he staged an epic pout. He drew himself to full height, put on his angst face, stamped his right foot and announced to all, “I am frustrated.” I had to turn away from the scene lest my laughter subvert parental discipline. I felt bad about that until I noticed that his mother had to do the same. Later reports had it that when Kevin got home he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.

As I write, I am aware that the memories of a day set aside in a formal way for the expression of gratitude becomes yet another occasion for which to give thanks. I do thank God for my family and for all of the love, encouragement and joy they have always brought to my life. They didn’t require it, but I am glad to complete the list I left unfinished a couple of weeks ago.

Peace to all.

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