I gave my kids homework for Thanksgiving. I asked them all to come with and write down the number of things they were thankful for, equal to their age. I mostly wanted to just turn their thoughts towards thankfulness. I had no idea that every one of them would take it so seriously. We had amazing lists, articulately given, and seriously thoughtfully considered. I am thankful for a family, that behind the normalcy and struggles of life, would stop to play along with dad’s possibly uncool ideas; a family, that as my oldest son said is “…not perfect or quaint, but we stick together nonetheless and we love each other.” Here’s the poem he wrote where he said that as his part of the homework. I doubt you’ll enjoy it as much as I did but perhaps you will enjoy it anyway.
For the mother
Who outstretched her branches
And dropped autumn leaves down on her children
Like a blanket
To keep them from the chill
Who sprouts her roots into the earth
Spreading her examples of selflessness
Through the ground.
An imprint to last generations.
For the father
Who’s hard work and
Always speak of kindness.
Who always has time for a smile
Or a joke.
Who speaks with such eloquent
Clarity and wisdom.
He does not use his knowledge
As a storm to rain down on his children,
But leans down to walk in the warm sun with them.
His love surpassing all of bloods obligations.
For the sisters
Separated by age and time and space.
They fill that void with presence
wider than the rocky terrain that keeps them apart.
The longing is thicker than the difference in age
That can sometimes pull them apart.
The sister of twenty two,
Despite being the eldest,
Was never above singing in the car
With her younger siblings.
Song pouring out of windows
And bouncing off car walls.
The eldest who sits in her catacomb
Of stone and brick,
away from snow.
Hopefully feeling our presence
As we feel hers.
In the winter of her twentieth year
She is the sister who is also a silly friend,
Who shares her friends and jokes
And warmth with any being who needs them.
At the ripe age of 10,
She is growing so fast.
She has passed single digits
But not the little firesprite
Who loves to move and dance.
The firesprite I hope is always a part of her.
For the younger brothers,
The one just below me,
Who’s thirst for knowledge and enriching pursuits
Fuels my own.
Who kindness and brightness has always inspired me.
For the Jaybird
Who flickers and flitters
Like a hummingbird.
Who taps rhythms and rings around my own awkward time steps.
Who has learned to laugh at himself.
For the youngest
My neighbor Bear.
Though exhausting at times,
Never fail to enlighten
Or brighten my days.
Who’s different view of the world
Reminds me to keep my eyes open wide.
For the many sassy felines
And playful canines,
Bring us all together with their
And their anxious games.
For the family that sticks together.
Like a sticky globe, that rolls around
Picking up dust and bottle caps.
It’s not pretty or clean,
It’s not perfect or quaint.
But we stick together nonetheless.
And we love each other,
Despite our flaws
Because of them.