Adoption Awareness Month (10)

Adoption Awareness Month (10)

Here is my family’s Thanksgiving tradition.  It’s been a while since I wrote about this – not since  2010!

Our family recipe for Thanksgiving cranberry relish is basically just ground up cranberries, apples, and oranges, with sugar.  We made it every year, and inevitably a whole cranberry would get in.  Obviously that one was the “lucky cranberry,” and soon we were putting a whole one – the largest one – in on purpose.  I would spend the whole of Thanksgiving dinner with one eye on the relish bowl, hoping to get the whole one so I could make a wish.

Our cranberries were often picked by my relatives on the Cape.  Apparently when I was really little I picked cranberries too; there is photo evidence for this but I don’t remember it.  Some years the harvest was good, and some years not so good.  One year there were hardly any berries at all, and they were expensive in the stores, too.   That year we put two whole berries in the bowl:  a big one, from the store-bought bag, and a tiny one, painstakingly picked from the bog.  That year, they were more than just lucky – they were blessings.  And every year afterward, we chose the largest berry, for thankfulness for the times when we prosper and have plenty, and the smallest berry, for blessings we find in times of hardship, and that is how the tradition settled in my mind.

Thinking of those two kinds of thankfulness help me, too, in differentiating between things I’m thankful for, and things I simply like.  I like a lot of things, and they make me feel happy.  But feeling thankful is very different from feeling happy.  It’s a bigger feeling, and deeper, and quieter, and also louder.  Maybe you can describe this better than I can.

The big cranberry is for those joys we have so much of, we almost forget to see them, like fish in water.  The little cranberry is for that moment of light in the darkness that lets you go just one step more.  The big cranberry is for our wealth.  The little cranberry is for our treasure.  The big cranberry is a prayer for peace and joy for everyone in the world.  The little cranberry is a precious hope in your secret heart.

This year, my big cranberry is for the amazing ocean of love and support my friends and family have poured out to me.  The little cranberry is for allowing myself to ask for their help, accept it, and forgive myself for needing it.

November is Adoption Awareness Month.  So to wrap up my blogging homework, I will also tell you that I am thankful for this adoption journey I’m on, even though if you’ve read the last three posts you’d think the whole thing was one long heartache punctuated by headaches.  So let me set that balance a little better.

I am grateful for the chance to really look and see the love that has been around me all the time.

I am grateful that in stepping into the darkness of the unknown, I found my wings did work.

I cannot give my child the first, biggest, most essential gift a mother gives – a gateway into the world, a body to house the soul, a life to exist in.  I am profoundly grateful that someone else can.

And always, I’m deeply grateful for the children in my life, who help me forget about everything that is big and important and pay better attention to what is small and preposterous.