Butternut squash soup with lots of ginger. A pasture-raised turkey, cooked to a golden brown. Roasted-potatoes-with-duck-fat-turned-mashed. Green beans, mushrooms and walnuts. Carrots in a maple butter sauce. Gravy and stuffing. Chocolate mousse pie and fresh whipped cream, home made with strawberries. Wine and ice wine and a caramel macchiato. Spiced pear cider.
In Ottawa two weeks ago, the playground we visited often was next to – I’m guessing – a special needs center. Twice we shared the playground with kids that had more than their fair share of struggles.
The second time, Clara played happily with an autistic boy slightly older than her. I watched them play and the mother, in a curious and awed voice, told me that Clara was the first child that her son has shown any interest in engaging (and successfully) playing with. Would I be willing to plan a playdate with them, she asked hesitantly, and it broke my heart to have to tell her we weren’t from around there.
I watched Clara play, both times after the kids left, going home with parents that seemed worn and lost and exhausted. Both times, I enjoyed the pleasant fall weather, and let Clara play just “2 minutes longer” and have countless “one last time” on the slides.
I didn’t worry about much – certainly not getting home to prepare dinner, using my cell phone to order food both nights that arrived at the house shortly after we did.
I watched her and laughed with her, and slid down the slide.
I gave thanks, for her, as I always do, but on those days, I gave thanks for more than just her. For her health. For her strength. For her fearlessness. For her kindness and gentleness and for how she played with a boy that was so different from her.
I am so very thankful.