It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I am finding myself very sentimental. This week always holds so much emotion and meaning for me. You see, my birthday is this week every year, and also 8 years ago we welcomed our 10 lb 14oz baby girl to the world 2 days before Thanksgiving. So, to say its a week full of celebration and gratefulness is an understatement.
I grew up with lots of traditions surrounding Thanksgiving. We went to my dad's parents' every year, but the night before was always the big prep. My sister and I started staying the night with my grandparents to help set up and get ready for the festivities the next day. Little did I know how much that would affect me as I grew to be an adult and had my own little family.
I especially remember when my birthday fell on Thanksgiving day. I would wake up to my Papa singing Happy Birthday in his off tune, country twang voice while my Nana was checking on all the meal prep and making us pancakes for breakfast. I would get a call from Mom and Dad, and then we would go to work or play until everyone else arrived for lunch. After lunch we had a job to do. Everyone would pitch in and help pull all my grandparents' Christmas lights and decorations down from the attic, and we would spend the afternoon setting up the big wooden sleigh and the reindeer and the nativity. We also would take the annual Family Christmas Photo in my grandparents' back yard. Some years it was in front of the pretty trees and foliage, and other years it was in front of the red barn out back.
Both my grandparents have gone on to be with Jesus now, and back in 2014 a few years before she passed, my Nana moved in with my aunt and sold her home after being diagnosed with dementia. So, it has been 5 years since being inside my grandparents' home - the home that held so many beautiful memories. I honestly never thought I would ever visit that house again, that is, until recently when my dear friend Kristine and her hubby Trae happened to buy the house not knowing the connection. Back in June we were all at a wedding chatting when she mentioned they had just put an offer on a house she just loves! I asked where it was located, and as soon as she said the street name my heart literally jumped. My sister and I both just looked at her, tears already welling up. I just could not believe it! We held our breath praying that they would be able to close, move in and have a smooth transition, and God faithfully answered those prayers. The yard is different now, the kitchen has been remodeled, but there are new memories being made in that old house, and I couldn’t be more happy for them.
The biggest blessing has been getting to walk down memory lane with Kristine and Trae and seeing all the improvements they are making. A few weeks ago Kristine asked if I would be willing to come out and do a photo session in their new home. I was so honored and leapt at the opportunity. She had one request, to take there new family photo in front of the old barn. I had a lump in my throat. That's where some of our last photos as kids and cousins were taken. We worked our way around the yard looking at where some other locations would be good. Trae said there was a spot he wanted to use. It had a bird house on this big ole tree. As we walked up, I realized that was a bird house my Papa had made; there was no doubt. Including these sweet little nuggets of memories was such a gift for me. It made me think about how blessed I was to grow up surrounded by love and encouragement. These people weren’t perfect, but they taught me what it means to be loyal to my family, how to love and forgive, and how to make stuffing for the Thanksgiving Turkey. Thank you, Kristine and Trae, for giving me such a beautiful gift and sharing your home with me. The fact that you appreciate the sentimental attachment is so sweet and thoughtful! Love you both so much!! I can’t wait to watch you guys make new memories in your home. Congrats to you both!