God didn’t create pollution

A few weeks ago our eldest son told me that he and two of his friends didn’t believe that God created the world. Given that we’ve never actually talked about how the world was created, I was intrigued to learn more about what he was thinking and what they were talking about.

Because why would God create diseases and stuff, Mama?

Like especially LICE? he asked.

And sometimes people get cancer and DIE, he confirmed, shaking his head.

We are really lucky to have never experienced an outbreak of lice in our household to date and I’m hoping this post doesn’t jinx it. On the other hand, we are grateful to have lived through cancer diagnoses in our immediate family at their most benign stages: treatable and liveable.

And seriously why would God create polluting stuff? and polluting things like the environment? he asked me.

I suggested that perhaps we humans actually are the ones who are polluting stuff, not God.

Eyes wide open, he appeared to get that message right away.

I told him that I don’t really know how exactly the world came to be, or why there are diseases, or why some people have to hold signs up asking for food, or why things sometimes go wrong in the human body.

I’m technically an agnostic, but I whisper toward faith once in a while, and I found myself taking God’s side during this conversation.

I do not believe that there is a universal power that does anything to make us hurt on purpose.

Doesn’t mean we can’t help one another out, though.

The past several months have been jam packed with work, kids, work, kids, work, and kids. We escaped to our close friends’ gorgeous property recently, and watched our children run, play, argue and laugh. We mediated only when necessary, glasses of wine in hand, beneath a sun-sparkled blue sky kind of weekend that is most appreciated in the Pacific Northwest. During the two-day respite, however, I worried about contracts and data collection and research and meeting agendas. I also held my sweet 10-week-old baby goddaughter in my arms, and she captured my attention enough that that the worries I hold dissipated for a while.

There’s not much that can break in on a happy baby snuggled warmly in your arms.

In my day-to-day experience I am in the weeds, reviewing details and content and constantly dialoging on specific themes and ideas that will get the job(s) done, and figuring out how to resolve issues that prevent said job(s) from success. But our oldest son offered me a broader reflection with his questions. I didn’t know exactly what to tell him, so I asked him about what he’s thinking and listened to him question, speak, and pause as he absorbed my own thoughts and questions.

He’s doing great this year, and I, too, am doing rather unexpectedly well in the new math of second grade.

Preschool, on the other hand, continues to, um, keep me wide awake. Our littlest son has got his own opinions and is not shy about sharing them. He uninvited me to his own 5th birthday party, but we worked it out (no Mama, no party). I hope that I make it to see him into second grade.

I haven’t published anything to this blog since last November, and I welcome your comments on this post. For long time readers, you’ll know that this is a special time of year – about six weeks between the anniversaries of the unexpected loss of a close family friend and the death of my middle sister at age 28. I tend to get wound up as the weeks approach the anniversary of such great loss. Thank you for reading, and hanging with me during the weeks ahead.

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I am behind in posting to this personal blog. I owe two reviews, various musings, and a special response to a nomination by The Imperfect Kitchen – a post that I am excited about writing and sharing with my readers.

But lately I’ve felt more like thinking about writing, rather than actually writing, thinking-past-bedtime-style, and thinking about the the usual suspects.

Loss, healing and love, in no particular order, because in my mind they are all one and the same.

A neighbor of mine cared for her mom during her last days this month. She gently, sadly left her family far too soon, and it made my heart ache, though I’d never met her.

It made me think, god, I’m so grateful, truly grateful that my mom and dad and sister are still here with me. 

Most nights my family sits around the dinner table and haphazardly share our daily gratitudes. It’s our “Our Father, Full of Grace”, a reflection on the day’s gifts and rainbows.

The deal is that everyone is supposed to share at least one thing for which they are grateful that happened that day, even if, and this is quite plausible, that day truly sucked and was horrible till the end.

Despite that we have shared gratitudes before the evening meal for over a year now, it’s not sinking in. Our boys dig into their food, starving, until I ask them to pause. Then they’re suddenly squabbling, hands reaching, each determined to share his gratitudes before anyone else.

Our youngest says he is grateful for the “water park” that we visited last November. He says this every night.

It’s not a religious practice, I guess it’s optional, but it irritates me that I constantly have to remind them to show appreciation for what they have. They are good at saying ‘thank you’ for an ice cream cone or a birthday gift, but less so at acknowledging a subtler act of kindness or uncommon experience.

The truth is that we live in a community that enjoys so much privilege. I want our boys to recognize this, and so I make them identify something, anything, for which they are grateful every night. Once they get started, however, they have a hard time stopping. This suggests that one day I won’t have to prompt them.

Right?

Recent gratitudes from the older brother include “watching the World Cup, especially Brazil and USA and the Netherlands, and sorry, Mom, but I’ve got to root against Mexico when they play the Netherlands, and for this dinner, and for getting ready to go to Bubba and Nana’s house…” and from the younger, “I’m grateful for this beautiful dinner and I love Mom and Dad and Miles and Coppi and our new kitchen and going to the water park and coming back from school and the dumpster wasn’t here and we didn’t need to do any more work”. 

It’s really good stuff, these gratitudes that I insist they share.

In late 2000, my two sisters visited my partner and me in southern Mexico. We were working 12-16 hour days, volunteer-style, at a guest ranch located not far from the Guatemalan border. Mostly European and a few intrepid American travelers arrived shouldering backpacks, ate great quantities of excellent home-cooked food, hiked and photographed nearby ruins before heading on their way.

We served traveling Germans a lot of Mexican beer and washed piles and piles of dishes. We also developed a healthy respect for the indigenous Zapatista community’s presence down the road as well as for the Mexican army base located less than one mile from the ranch.

I’ve written about this experience in Birds of Paradise, Part One, Two and Three. Fresh out of the Peace Corps, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to live and work in a piece of the world not well known by anyone other than its residents and the local American missionaries (I should write about them sometime – they weren’t your stereotypical missionary family).

Toward the close of our tenure at the ranch, my partner and I spent time in close dialog, not only with each other, but with members of the staff. We agreed that the way in which the operation was run (by American expats greedy for pesos and a permanent vacation) was crude and unethical. The ranch employed a hard-working staff of young men and women who completed their tasks with a serious yet pleasant attitude. For most of them, Spanish was their second or third language after their indigenous dialect. We earned their trust by working alongside them, washing dishes by hand, serving plates and drinks, and weeding the garden. It helped that we spoke the language, sharing jokes and lightening the atmosphere a bit.

Bringing this memory back today seems timely. Although we did not have children back then, and in fact did not have much for which we were responsible – no mortgage, no “real” jobs, no bills waiting to be paid – we felt accountable, to one another and to the staff and neighbors of the property.

At the end of the day we felt responsible and grateful. We coordinated humble yet delicious dinners and assisted in buying, cleaning and preparing the food alongside two talented Mexican cooks. Eventually the work took place in a rhythm that worked beautifully so long as the ranch owners were not present. It was a good, yet unsustainable situation since we knew the owners were due back any day. After six months, we chose not to take part any longer in an operation that was unkind and unjust to the very people who made it work.

Maybe gratitude can’t really be forced. Through observation and experience of humbler conditions than my own, I grew in immeasurable ways that season, and I was a whole lot older than our kids are today.

I want to live my life with eyes wide open to the blessings around me. Our boys have big hearts, even if they less aware of how good they have it.

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.

– A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

 P.S. By the time I got around to posting this, both of my boys had driven me mad, because they were tired and melting down, causing me to feel very ungrateful indeed. But we’ll try again tomorrow. 

gracias

 

 

 

the usual suspects

Do I title this post Creepy Bunnies?

Or Boston Strong?

I woke up ruminating on the holiday, but my thoughts quickly turned toward the runners and spectators who lined the streets of Boston this morning.  It’s been humbling and inspiring to read about how the running community moved resiliently through this first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. I was touched to learn that hundreds of runners and their families attended the Blessing of the Athletes at Boston’s Old South Church yesterday, which coincidentally was Easter Sunday.

Part of the blessing read:

May you mount up with wings like eagles. May you run and not grow weary. May you walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

I remain unconvinced that Christianity with a capital C is the way to go,  but I also appreciate how we might seek solace and inspiration in scripture. This particular piece seems especially meaningful for runners.

That said, the explanation I provided to my kids about the meaning of Easter felt inadequate.

Our eldest son can tell you the Christmas story, or at least he’ll hit the highlights… how baby Jesus was born in a manger after his parents wandered for several hours in search of a place to rest. He likes the idea of a bright star guiding the way of those who sought him, and he’ll certainly mention the fact that there were animals, too… an ox, a donkey, a camel, and maybe a dog.

Also, since the city of Bethlehem is within an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean Sea, my son is certain there was a shark or two silently lurking near the shore the day Jesus was born.

Healer, sage, leader, teacher and philosopher, Jesus was a man who cared deeply about humanity. Was he reborn? I’m not entirely certain.

Anyway.

Most Easters since our kids have been born have passed without much reflection on the day’s purpose or history. Yesterday I felt like tackling it differently, because the secular approach to Easter is focused on a creepy, man-sized Easter Bunny, and and the sugar ingestion alone is bound to hurt.

We painted and hid eggs and filled baskets with treats. Our eldest handles special treats discreetly, saving them to enjoy one at a time. His Easter Basket was still pretty full by the time the sun set. Our youngest, on the other hand, was intentional in his excessive consumption of jelly beans and chocolate. Throughout the day, he returned to his basket to dip in for a handful of sweet, until it was gone. Then he leaned in to me with chocolate breath to inquire about more.

After spending the entire day in our backyard playing soccer and badminton, gardening, swinging in the hamaca and organizing an army of Lego guys on the deck, we finally stopped to come in for the holiday meal. Before dinner, we went around the table to share gratitudes.

I said something like, Today I’m grateful for sunshine and each of you and the understanding that we are sharing this special Easter Sunday with many people around the world.

Oldest son: Um, Mom? Couldn’t there be a cooler holiday that celebrated sharks around the world? Like everyone would just be excited and celebrate about Sharks being alive in the ocean around the entire world?

After dinner, the boys scrubbed down into cleaner versions of themselves and watched an original Peter Cottontail movie from the 1970s.

Public apologies to the movie-gifter, but this film is a little scary and dated. The boys didn’t think so, but I cringed watching the dark Evil Irontail try to outsmart the innocent Peter Cottontail. The stop-motion animation is fun, and probably easier for our youngest to follow than fast-paced modern films, but it’s still a pretty terrible movie. I like to be present during the viewing of a new movie in order to interpret as needed or talk it out afterwards, but I’m also finding myself being less present lately.

More and more, I need the boys to work stuff out on their own.

When they are separated, they long to be together… or at least the youngest wants to be near the eldest. Left apart long enough, the eldest inquires about the youngest, too. Since we don’t live in the Taj Mahal, intimacy isn’t typically a problem, and we are within shouting distance at any given point.

On Easter Sunday I felt like we should feel as a family,  like a whole, curious, healthy entity, moving toward a shared interpretation of the day. Faithful or not, life really comes down to love, gratitude, family, patience, kindness and strength of spirit.

Our kids are young. Easter baskets are compelling, and they sit in the room, teasing, tantalizing as they entice little hands to dig down for jelly beans and chocolate. But if I can support those things listed above as part of my life and that of my family’s, then I feel we are doing pretty well.

And that, readers, makes for a happy Easter.

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holiday thoughts and blessings

dreaming of wellness

Hello Friday, I’m so happy to meet you today!

Today I’m linking up with Cynthia at yousignedupforwhat?!, EatPrayRunDC and MarontheRun for the weekly Friday Five. I’m excited to have discovered three new bloggers who focus on health and wellness. Evidently I’m in need of both, because last night I dreamed about being sick for what felt like all night.

In this particularly vivid dream a close friend showed up at our house with her family during a raging snowstorm. She energetically insisted that we had signed up to run a 10K foot race located across town… I didn’t recall registering, but what are you gonna do. We piled in the back of this enormous vehice, tucking our kids sans seat belts under a fleece blanket. I was unable to breathe for several minutes, congested and bleeding and tired, but no one seemed to notice.

I woke up still dreaming. It was very strange. I almost announced to my family that Mama is very, very sick and needs to stay in bed today, but then I looked in the mirror and took a few deep breaths and walked outside on the deck. The sun was out. Unbelievable. I wasn’t congested. I wasn’t bleeding. I was, in fact, no sicker than anyone else in our family, which is to say not sick.

Still, the feeling lingered for a while, and I felt cloudy. Instead of reaching immediately for caffeine I put a bunch of raw kale in the blender, threw in half a banana, some frozen blueberries and unsweetened coconut milk plus a healthy scoop of protein powder. The sound of the blender is delicious. It makes kids come running into the kitchen, but this smoothie was for me.

I drank deeply, and then I poured a cup of steaming coffee. Coffee as a side dish = perfection.

I am looking forward to a little wellness this weekend.

Sunshine

My Friday Five include:

1. First soccer match of the season. My oldest will play tomorrow morning under the direction of his coach aka his Dad. Chance of rain = 80%, but that’s ok. We live in Portland!

2. Pedicure. This is happening today. I’ve promised myself (any local readers want to join me?)

3. Free Friday with my little guy. He doesn’t have school on Fridays, and we get to hang out. He still challenges me on a regular basis, but he also makes me laugh. This morning he asked if he could taste my kale smoothie, but before taking a sip, he asked me if it was poison. 

4. Getting in the garden:  Our broccoli, cauliflower and sugar snap pea starts are looking good. Two days ago I carefully planted two dozen teensy containers with mixed greens, kale and carrot seeds. I placed them outdoors to get a few hours of sun. My youngest boy came running in beaming, tugging on my hand.

Mama! I planted aaallllll the carrot seeds! Come see!

Um, okay? you did what?

I planted allllll the seeds!

We walked outside. He had opened the bag of carrot seeds and dumped all of them all over my planted containers. Carrot seeds are tiny, and removing them with tweezers proved unsuccessful. Also, you’re supposed to plant carrot seeds “sparingly” which does not mean thirty per seed pot. So frustrating. The kid ruined my seeds, and was happy about it. So we’re hitting up the Portland Nursery for some cheerful starts and ladybugs.

5. Movement: a solo run and swim are on the calendar.

Happy Friday, readers!

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Do sharks cry?

I haven’t been writing as often as I had intended to this month, and I blame all the good stuff there is out there to read. Books, essays, blog posts, newspapers. There are so many compelling words that other people write that fill me up and bring me to tears. The tears always surprise me, because after my sister died I cried daily for about five years straight and then completely stopped. The tears dried up and I could suddenly think, speak, act, breathe, and work normally in the presence of her absence.

I still felt wretched much of the time, but figured I was permanently all cried out.

Today I think the “feeling” part of my brain just needed a major rest.

I’ve also come to the understanding that grief is supposed to hurt. It’s not a gentle pat on your shoulder or a hug or a promise that things will get better one day. The pain means that grief is doing its thing, and the magic of the grieving journey is that one day you’re not crying every single night and then you actually laugh. You laugh at something someone said, or something on the radio, or even at yourself. And then you startle, because you haven’t laughed in so long that it feels uncomfortable and itchy and wrong. But then something happens, like when my mom mentioned making a donation to my sister’s scholarship fund before the end of the calendar year in order to write it off for taxes, and I thought, that is so… so…. practical.

I could just hear my sister making some smart remark about her being gone and we’re worrying about taxes? Liz was so darn practical when it came to money that I pictured her smiling at my mom while checking her bank account.

Then I remembered her hopping off a city bus in Manhattan because she spied a discount department store where she ended up buying her bridesmaid dress for my wedding for $14.99.

Anytime someone complimented her on the dress, she was all smiles as she announced that it cost fifteen dollars!

And I laughed.

Last weekend we took the boys to see Frozen, and since that day we’ve watched Elsa sing “Let It Go” a half dozen times on YouTube. If you haven’t yet seen it, the story is that this gorgeous (of course) princess is born with the power to transform everything she touches into ice. It’s a creative version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, a fairy tale published in 1845. And every single time we’ve watched Elsa sing I’ve had to bite my lip and take a deep breath in order not to cry. I’m not sure if it’s the music or the message that makes me feel, but either way it brings me to tears. 

Then it’s over and I’m fine and my youngest is fussing for one more time.  I have no inclination to sink back into the land of tears (this is a post that I wrote one year ago. It’s fascinating that what I was feeling last year is so close to what I’m feeling this year, and yet different – more on that later). It’s much more entertaining to take notes on my kids then to focus on what’s going on within me, not when what’s going on within me this week mostly equals extreme soreness due to fun boot camp and lower back distress and physical therapy and desire for real pain drugs that remain sadly unprescribed

Booooooring. 

During last night’s dinner gratitudes our eldest said he was thankful “for today, the whole day, yesterday, and tomorrow.” 

Just as I was absorbing his sweet message, he managed to turn gratitudes into a detailed explanation of the Gila Monster. I had asked him to take a bigger bite of the nutritious soup I had prepared instead of just eating bread. He took a small sip, then informed me that the Gila Monster swallows eggs and small prey whole without teeth. Additionally, the Gila monster dislikes the heat, though he lives in the dessert. Who knew?

It’s amazing to me how much a six-year-old can absorb from a video, book or a lesson. He retains scientific trivia like it’s a competitive sport. His demeanor during dinner resembled a very small professor of entomology. Or maybe it’s herpetology. Perhaps one day… both.

On the other hand, he can exasperate his younger brother to no end simply by ignoring his tricks. Instead of falling apart in a full-on tantrum, however, our youngest instead called out these words after dinner:

Annie always says we include our friends! And he’s not including me! Annie says we gotta include everybody!!!!!

His teacher, Annie, taught him that we must, or should, include all of our friends in our play. Big brother (B.B.) was content playing alone, and younger brother (Y.B.) desperately wanted to engage him. What to do?

In this situation I generally let Y.B. know that B.B. is playing alone right now and needs some space. But Y.B. had used his words so beautifully that I took his side, and insisted that they attempt to play nicely together.

Nothing went really wrong with this scenario, and yet nothing was overwhelmingly right, either. I am trying to step back as referee in order to let them resolve their own problems. It’s not easy to stay in the background.

Later, I posed a question to B.B.

Do sharks cry?

He shook his head. A definite no.

Why not?

Because they are the most powerful creatures in the sea and cannot be hurt.

What about if a mama shark lost her baby shark?

Well, baby sharks and grown up sharks have special rememberies. They just know how to get back. 

I have special rememberies, too, I think.

What about other animals? Do they cry?

No.

What about dogs?

Um, well, they make like (whimper, whimper) sounds when they are sad. 

Then we were interrupted by L.B. when a bunch of Legos came crashing out of a box, and chaos resumed in our pretty Christmas lit home. And I laughed.

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Be brave!

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Last year I wrote about my son’s reflections on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Consider reading this post to learn about how the Reverend Dr. King made an impact on a kindergarten student who had just learned he was white.

A few days ago the presently bigger and wiser first grade child came home asking me the name of “the black president”.

You mean President Obama?

No, Mom. The other black president. The other really great one.

In spite of reading serious truths and beautiful reflection on the life and death of Nelson Mandela since he died on December 5, his name didn’t cross my mind during our conversation. I was so focused on African-American leadership in the United States that I completely forgot about the rest of the world – temporarily. Miles couldn’t remember his name and I was no help at all.

Last night, however, he announced triumphantly at dinner that his name is Nelson Mandela!

Ohhhhh. Yes, have you been talking about President Mandela at school?

Yes. And he went on to tell his dad and me the story of Mr. Mandela in words that went like this:

So the white people and the black people weren’t living together because the white people, well, most of them, you know, were not sharing or anything and they were Boss. And so Nelson Mandela had a vision and then he got thrown in jail.

For Twenty Seven Years, Mom!

For like 27 years Nelson Mandela was not free and the white people were free all that time. And then he got out and the black people were free and the white people had to go away. 

Me: Go away?

Well, until they knew they could be together and everyone could just be free. In South Africa. It’s a whole different country but Nelson Mandela was the first black president. 

His message was how we prove to the world and being nice and doing nice things like changing the world like first the black people are free and then the white people could be free, too. Changing the world means that like having things different and having things fair. 

Since he is learning to tell time, he emphasized the fact that Mr. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years several times. It sounds like – and was, in some respects – a lifetime onto itself. He also sang the chorus of a song about Mandela’s vision that they’ve been singing at school.

I am pleased that his teacher and the school environment are approaching and discussing some of the tough issues that embed themselves in our life journeys. Like his grandfather, he enjoys history. Like his dad, his preference for books is non fiction. As the days and nights turn into seasons and years, he wants to know more and more.

While he is genuinely excited to talk about “peace” and “harmony”, my oldest also repeatedly asks me for a gigantic Nerf-n-Strike Blaster to launch high power assaults around the house. While brushing his teeth this morning, he informed me that he and his friends made up a new game called “war” at recess during which they pretend to be spies and choose sides in order to blast one another out of time. The battles kind of fly in the face of the whole Nelson Mandela message of tolerance talk.

Mr. Mandela said,

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.

Both of my children are fascinated with “good guys” and “bad guys”. Highlighting Santa’s “nice” vs “naughty” list has probably only helped perpetuate their fascination, but threatening to take them off the “nice” list is effective in controlling at least some of their fighting. Because they do fight. Mostly they squabble over a single Lego piece or a random tool – say, Dad’s measuring tape or a new magnet on the fridge. They’ve also been to known to fight over an empty cardboard box.

It makes me crazy.

On the other hand, it seems normal. We live in a world where it’s close to impossible to shield our children from expressions of violence. Although we don’t watch news on the television, I turn the sound down low on NPR if I listen at all with the boys in the car because they pick up the word “bomb” or “gun” or “war” with the sense of a common bat (bats have extraordinary senses of hearing) or even better, its enemy prey – the greater wax moth. The moth’s motivation to avoid being eaten by a bat has evolved into its having the best hearing in the entire mammalian population.

Besides my kids, that is.

My youngest child can hear a bag of chips opening from deep within the play tent in the basement. His vision’s pretty good, too. The Christmas presence of chocolate and candy canes was overwhelming at first, but fortunately now they’ve faded into the living room scene and I don’t have to hide them anymore in fear of sudden meltdown attack on the mama.

I believe we can thank our ancestors for (many) boys’ natural inclination toward weapon play. I no longer think it’s the worst thing ever about parenting boys, and in fact, I can appreciate the Hunger Games-esque bow and arrow set my oldest boy learned to use with ease. I like that he loves fishing and feels bad about the fish at the same time — he’s told us next season he’s strictly going with catch and release. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it — the war games, the blasting off of one’s heads in the bedroom. I just need to try to explore it more patiently and avoid sending messages that just don’t make sense to young boys — guns are wrong, guns are dangerous (no matter if one thinks those messages are true). What I’m finding works better is for us to have a conversation about the play and figure out rules together that work — i.e. no pointing pretend guns at someone’s head and keeping things to a low roar when inside.

Let’s return to the experience of Mr. Mandela. I turned to his words for guidance, and he said many things that resonate. Among them, he said,

We owe our children – the most vulnerable citizens in any society – a life free from violence and fear. 

However, he also commented on when violence may be necessary.

Gandhi himself never ruled out violence absolutely and unreservedly. He conceded the necessity of arms in certain situations. He said, “Where choice is set between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence… I prefer to use arms in defense of honor rather than remain the vile witness of dishonor …”

And I very much like these words:

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

Tonight I give thanks for brave, true leaders like Mr. Mandela, and for the teachers who are helping me to raise my boys with good heads and good hearts. May he rest in peace, and the rest of us keep his memory close and his legacy respected.

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And one more I cannot resist sharing:

Be brave! I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.

Running turkeys

I fell off the daily blogging wagon, but November isn’t quite over yet. The pull toward Christmas is strong, but I’m focused on Thanksgiving prep. During breakfast I asked my oldest (age 6.5) to tell me what Thanksgiving means.

It means to be thankful for the things that you have and for others. You have a big feast and you say your gratitudes. Autumn season is that everybody starts to get their feast out and they have a lot to do and after they say their gratitudes they have a really, really, really big feast. Some people even have seafood. Maybe that’s what I will do for mine if I’m close to water with my cousins.

I thought that was a pretty solid response.

What does Thanksgiving mean? I asked my youngest (age 3.5) and he replied:

On Thanksgiving you run! That’s it! You just run! and turkeys walk.

His brother followed up:

Actually, farm turkeys walk. Wild turkeys run and fly because they don’t eat that much. They just flap their feathers around. They lift their wings up like this and put their neck up and go like this (demonstration of wild turkey ensues).

We are running as a family in a Turkey Trot tomorrow morning and he is ready to earn his medal.

These short people who live in our house are watching and listening even when I think they aren’t paying attention. Yesterday Max and I were on our way to pick up his brother from Forest Ninja Camp and he asked me a few times about my phone and how to find Miles. I wasn’t tracking until he finally asked, How can you find my brother without using your phone? I considered the implication that I rely on GPS mapping a wee bit too much. I am grateful for the person who developed mapping software.

Public school is closed the entire week of Thanksgiving, so we are spending a lot of time together. This morning is best described as cozy and lazy, the kids in Pj’s watching public television, drawing and writing, and talking about turkeys. I’ve prepared 10 lbs of potatoes and fresh cranberry sauce which should really be called cranberry sugar. Remaining dishes to prepare include the classics: dressing, greens and obviously – the bird. But first, our dog is nudging me to go outside. Walk me! Run me! Get me a ball!

So out we went on this beautiful, chilly, sunny day before Thanksgiving. We have much for which to be thankful. Here are a few photos of my running turkeys.

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