I took a two hour long nap today. Yes, I am thankful for that, something that rarely (never) happens. But mostly I am thinking of the wonderful Thanksgiving Day we had and how sometimes change is a very good and needed thing.
Today I served mashed potatoes to about 150 of my neighbors. As the noon hour approached, the seats around the long tables started to fill up. There were more volunteer workers than they could handle but I was happy to roll up my sleeves, tie my apron on and squeeze around the tightly packed dining room ladling out mashed potatoes. Others were moving around in pairs serving the stuffing, green beans, corn, gravy, bread, sweet potatoes, and of course Turkey!!
What I liked best about our Thanksgiving was getting the chance to serve my neighbors. Many came because it was their only chance for a real Thanksgiving meal, but an equal number came to sit side by side and share a community meal that was about more than filling their plates up.
Nik arrived with the boys while I was still serving mashed potatoes and had to wait awhile to find a place to sit. When seats finally started emptying, I sat with them as other volunteers filled our plates up and I felt truly, truly grateful for our family/community meal.
One thing that I don't often hear other bloggers talking about is how the extended family dynamics change when you have a child with autism. Or is this just the case in my family? Family gatherings and family visits are sometimes very difficult because I find that they often just don't "get" Oliver. Or they don't "get" how parenting a child with autism means that the rules sometimes change. Discipline, understanding, expectations, even communication are all affected by the challenges that our kids face. So I haven't looked forward to family holidays for a few years now. Old traditions just don't seem to fit with our life at the moment. Sometimes I'm a bit sad about the whole thing, but today I realized that traditions are there to support us, not the other way around. Today was so successful for us, so wonderfully fulfilling, that it is easy to see that it was the start of a new S. Family tradition.