Felmata and I had been talking about Thanksgiving all week. We read lots of books, so he could be "caught up" on what it is we do. ie... eat turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie. Go to Grandma's house. Go bowling (we've been doing that for years ... kinda wierd but tradition is tradition, and it's kinda fun to have an activity after lunch). As we read and talked and anticipated, he had lots of important questions ... like how would Nana put the stuffing into the turkey? I answered the only way I could think of ... through it's butt. Opps ... he has been repeating that one with a little grin to anyone who will listen. Not sure why I didn't think of "through the turkey's neck"!
He also made me promise to see the turkey before we ate it. No problem!
When we got to Grandma's house, he ran to the kitchen. Me see the turkey! We opened the oven and he was quite disappointed. Apparently he wanted to see the turkey BEFORE it was dead. The next best thing was to see the feathers and the head. "Nana! I want to see the feathers!" Then we had to explain that the store took the feathers and head off before we bought the turkey. Bummer! I get why he thought it would be alive ... in a lot of the Africa we've seen families have a little chicken in a little fence, which they would eventually kill and eat. No wonder he wanted to see the head and feathers.
After his first bite we asked what he thought ... "tastes like chicken" was his comment.
To make a perfect day a near fairy tale to one Ethiopian American, just as we were fitting the last bites of food into our tummys, my Dad said "Look outside! Here come the turkeys!" Nearly 2 dozen turkeys were making their way around the backyard. Right outside the window. Felmata and Noah ran outside where Felmata attempted to catch a turkey for "next time". No so luck, but the look on his face is something that I will remember for a long time. For all he knows ... chasing turkeys for "next time" is just part of the family tradition.
Happy Thanksgiving little buddy! I hope all of them are as magical as this one was. Now ... onto Christmas!
I am thankful for a God who knows better than I do what I need. I am thankful for a living, adventurous God who doesn't allow me to coast through life, but challenges me to grow and change and thrive. I'm thankful that when storms come my way, Jesus wants me to row, but also gets in the boat with me.
I am thankful for a husband who loves his God, his family and his work. I get to be married to a man who shares from his heart and wants to look into mine. I am thankful that we are learning to be our "true selves" with each other.
I am thankful for healthy kids with different personalities. I have been blessed with 3 children who not only bring laughter and joy into my life, but who challenge me and stretch me and make me a better person.
I am thankful for my parents who are proud of me and still remind me of that, even though I'm 33 years old. I am thankful for in-laws who support my role in our family and cheer us on with each new "adventure". I am thankful for a father-in-law who calls me just to say I'm doing a "good job".
I am thankful for 2 sisters who knew me when I was at my worst, and still love me anyway. It is an amazing blessing to not only love but also like your siblings.
I am thankful for friendships that have gone deeper this year. I am grateful for women in my life who are willing to be real and authentic and allow me to be too (even when it's ugly).
None of these things I have earned. None of them are mine. I don't possess them. I try to hold them loosely, knowing that my hope comes from above. But oh, for the moment, I am so grateful to the One who has given them to me.
This weekend we publically dedicated Felmata to the Lord. Obviously we did this a long time ago in our hearts, but this was the night we stood up in front of family and friends and declared it out loud. We chose Jeremiah 29:11 to be read for Felmata. This is a verse I "claimed" for Felmata long ago.
I so believe that God has good plans for my son ... plans to give him hope and a future. It is a sobering job, this thing called Motherhood. It is filled with ups and downs and fear and joy and pride and regret and so much more.
More than all of that, in the middle of all of that, really, there is my God who promises not only for me, but for my children as well, that He will never leave us. That He has plans for us, and those plans are good. And because of that promise, and His love that never changes, I can take the ups and downs and fears and regrets, and also the joys and laughter and hugs, and I can wake up each morning with eagerness to do my job the best that I can. I have my part, and God has His, and for that I am thankful this year!
Noah and Ella have had their share of tantrums. Not large. Not long. But they've each had fits over not getting their way. Felmata has had his share, too. But I've never seen one like this ... even from somebody else's child. Never. In all of my life. And I've seen some pretty ugly tantrums.
We were wrapping up our shopping. Noah brought a few of his own dollars to buy a tech deck. Felmata wanted a toy, too. I explained that he got a new toy just this past Saturday, and that Noah was using his own money. The tantrum began. It was manageable, but that's where it started. We headed for the check out, kicking, yelling, crying, but still, mostly manageable. A little embarassing, yes, but no big deal. I have thick skin. An older Mom smiled as she passed and encouraged me to "stay strong".
At the same time the tantrum began, Felmata was clutching his Little Debbie brownies. I let the kids each pick a Little Debbie snack for later. See ... I'm not really a mean Mom.
Anyway, as the kicking, yelling, crying continued, Felmata made the choice to throw his brownies over the edge of the cart. "That'll show you" was the look on his face. "I don't think so" was the look on mine.
This is the part where it got really really ugly. I picked up the brownies off from the floor, and simply put them back on the shelf. I'm not going to tolerate food being thrown out of the grocery cart. Tantrum or not.
The yelling became louder. The kicking got stronger. The crying more intense. The spitting began. During flu season. My child was spitting on everything he could get to. And on and on and on.
2 store employees stopped to ask if they could help. Shoppers left their aisles to find out what the racket was. Several women stopped their carts completely to stare. Literally just stood and stared.
What was I to do? Abandon my cart and leave the store? Reason with a totally out of control child? I tried a time out in the shoe aisle to no avail. Should I just try and get through the checkout super fast? I picked option 3. I hurried to the checkout.
Where, you guessed it, I saw not 1, not 2, but 3 people I knew. 2 pretended not to see me. Although I could see them walking a little quicker as I got closer.
With tears streaming down my face, I quickly loaded my groceries, paid my bill, and started to head for the door. When person #3 chose to get into my chaos for a second. My friend Missi stopped what she was doing, walked over to me (now she was being stared at, too) and gave me the biggest bear hug I've gotten in a very long time. It wasn't a pat on the shoulder, a "poor you", kind of hug. She hugged me until I let go, and whispered what a good Mom I was.
The last few years I've often times made my outings to Meijer an intentional place to show some love. Often when I'm there, I'm looking for people to extend a smile to. I try to make conversation with the cashiers. Try to ask about their lives. Often I let frazled moms go ahead of me in line. I feel like I can be Jesus for just a second to someone I run into. I feel like maybe a small gesture could brighten someone's day.
Today the tables were turned. I'm not sure Missi will ever know how thankful I was that God had her right there, right then, and that she chose to walk into my world for just a second, and be Jesus to me.
I cried most of the way home. Not because I was frustrated, or embarassed, or angry. But because someone showed such kindness, and I felt such love.
Life is hard sometimes. It's not always easy being a Mom. But how much brighter the world looks when someone chooses to walk across the aisle and share a little of the burden.
Ella aka Hannah Montana
Felmata the "friendly" lion. He refused to say "ROOOAR" but chose instead to say "meow".