I was going to write about a poem of the month for November this week. It’s a really cute poem called “Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving.” And I still will share it next week, for sure! However, our 3 year old reminded me of the true meaning of Thanksgiving today, and it seemed only right that I share that experience instead.
I had a loooooong to do list today (not exactly the lazy Sunday I wrote about a few weeks back, but -oh well- you can’t win them all I guess). The agenda for today included, church, choir practice, delivering a treat to some new neighbors, laundry, putting away Halloween decorations and toys, getting out Thanksgiving decorations and toys, preparing the outside of the house for winter, making a turkey for the fridge with our daughter, and writing my November poem of the month blog post. Phew! With so much to do, I decided multitasking was a must. So while my husband was out winterizing the house, I was busy doing a load of laundry and making the annual hand print turkey for the fridge with our daughter. I will admit she was less than interested in the task, so I sweetened the deal with glue, sequins, and feathers… many, many feathers. She was suddenly more enthusiastic and ended up making a handprint turkey that looks like a performer in a Las Vegas show. Not exactly what I had planned, but it made me feel happy and thankful for her creative little self.
Then came time to put away the Halloween stuff. Our daughter began to cry as I boxed up a stuffed Halloween toy she had not even touched once during the entire month of October. I tried to cheer her up by showing her the new Thanksgiving toys for her to play with and telling her a very simplified (and not entirely historically accurate) story of the first Thanksgiving. (In a nutshell, I told her that the King of England said the Pilgrims had to go to his church and that made them sad, so they decided to leave England and sailed far across the ocean on the Mayflower. When they arrived at Plymouth Rock they had no food, but some kind Native Americans helped them learn how to grow food. After learning to live in their new home they had a feast to celebrate having food to eat and to thank God for everything they had.) Our daughter then began playing herself and retold the story in her own way, and even invited a few new guests to the feast: Doc McStuffins and Mario. Why not? Here is her version of the first Thanksgiving:
The Pigrims left England because they had no feet. Then they lived in a manger with the Mannequins. Then they prayed to be together forever and there would be cheers. Then they all curved a pumpkin together.
After hearing her tell this story, I was thrilled because I knew she had been paying attention both to me just then and also to her choir teacher earlier in the day who had talked about Jesus in the manger as we practiced our songs for the upcoming Christmas performance. I also was happy that she had clearly enjoyed “curving” her own pumpkin the night before Halloween. But most of all, I felt like for the first time in my life I really, really understood the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Taking the extra time to play with her during my crazy busy day made me short on time to prepare my blog post about a “Recipe for a Happy Thanksgiving,” but it reminded me that the true recipe for a happy Thanksgiving is spending time with my precious family and enjoying special little moments like these. And that while unorthodox or unexpected, the 3 year old version of things is by far the best – especially if it includes a showgirl turkey and Doc McStuffins at the first Thanksgiving feast. When I break the wishbone on Thanksgiving day, my wish will be that I can remember this all year long.