And a six hour car ride with three kids and a husband ended up not even close to as bad as my nightmares had predicted. We left Iowa at 2:30 PM yesterday, and pulled into my parent's driveway around 8:30 PM where a welcoming committee of Zach, Faith, Pete, my mom and our beagle, Rosie enthusiastically greeted us.
I'm thankful to be home.
"I really hope we didn't forget anything important," I worriedly told Jeremy once we had officially gotten on the road.
"Impossible," he reassured me. "Not after all those lists you made."
I mentally reviewed all my lists and relaxed into the roomy passenger seat of our van. "You're right. We should have everything."
"Where'd you put Mercy's bottle?" I inquired after glancing at the clock a few hours later. She would be ready to eat any minute now.
"Her bottle?" he glanced at me strangely, "I thought you had packed that in the side pocket of her diaper bag."
"I did last night, but I grabbed it out this morning to feed her. I thought you were going to wash it and put it back for me."
"You're kidding, right? Tell me we didn't leave her bottle at home."
"Uh, I think we left her bottle at home."
Jeremy groaned. "I'll start looking for a store." It took two hours before we found a town large enough to hold a bottle-selling store, and thankfully, Mercy overslept.
I'm thankful for car vibrations.
After all the enthusiastic hugging and lugging of suitcases, I walked into the old farmhouse, wondering where my two youngest daughters had been kidnapped to. I discovered Mercy lounging on my sister Charity's lap! Charity lives in Ohio, and she told me she wasn't going to be able to make it for Thanksgiving. Her almost-fiance' Caleb sat on the couch next to her. They both wore pleased little smirks.
"You tricked me!" I shouted out happily.
"Yep!" she acknowledged. "But it wasn't my fault. Caleb and I were planning to have Thanksgiving at his mom's and Christmas here. At the last minute he changed his mind and surprised me...and you."
This means that all of my brothers and sisters will be in town at the same time this Thanksgiving!
I'm thankful for surprises!
They put us in Faithy's large room with a queen bed for us, a crib mattress on the floor for Liberty and a playpen in the corner for Mercy. The arrangement worked wonderfully until Jeremy and I climbed into the bed. It moved. We froze. A clunking sound occurred. "Um, did we break the bed?" Jeremy asked gingerly.
I sighed, "I sure hope not." We waited tensely for the bed to go crashing down to the floor. Nothing happened. "I think we're good?" I ended on a question mark, and we continued arranging ourselves into the bed. It swayed again. We froze again.
I carefully exited the mattress and laid down flat on the floor to peer underneath at the metal bed frame. Good news. It was on wheels. The swaying did not indicate brokenness. But the center bar with one end resting on the floor did. Apparently, my 98 pound sister isn't heavy enough to sink her mattress down, but the combined weight of Jeremy and I pushed it far enough that it sagged slightly in the midde all night.
I'm thankful for my bed at home.
This morning, Mercy woke up at 5:00. I didn't want her to wake Liberty up with her crying, so I quickly scooped her up and took her downstairs to eat. The four gigantic picture windows surrounding the living room displayed a gorgeous sunrise over the cornfields that Mercy and I enjoyed immensely. Pinks, blues, oranges, and yellows smeared across the sky as far as I could see.
I'm thankful for God's paintings.
An hour later, my dad came downstairs. After putting his socks on and finding his glasses, he eagerly took Mercy from my arms. He began talking and cooing to her. Happy noises oozed from both of them. They discussed vocabulary words like vargueno and the archaic meaning of virtue. They moved on to the policital state of the Union, and finished with plumbing and electricity. Mercy is much smarter now than she was when she arrived.
I'm thankful for her Grandpa.
As I sit here at the computer, waiting for the rest of the family to begin stirring, I think of my brother Nate and his wife Suzy and two month old son Abraham Michael who are driving right now from Ohio to join us here today. I think of my sister Hannah and her husband Craig and two kids, Roman and Destiny who are probably still in bed (if they're smart) at their home in town and who will join us tomorrow. (His family is in town today.) I think of my sister Charity and her boyfriend Caleb who drove from Ohio a few days ago to surprise us all. I think of my brother Joe and his fiance' Melissa who are at her family's house today, but should stop by here later. I think of my brothers Zach and Pete and my sister Faith who live here at home still. I think of my mom and dad who have always loved us, and still provide a safe place where we can all retreat for laughter and warmth and love.
I'm thankful for home.