Thanksgiving Spread (the love)
I sat with my visiting 10 year old great-nephew, Elijah, inviting him to write appreciation notes on the inside of each person’s name card, to be placed at their plate for Thanksgiving dinner. I had him start with his 11 year old brother, Amari. He wrote, “I am thankful to have a brother so I can play with you, like video games, because you like video games.” At this point I asked him to add something he likes about Amari, explaining that it is nice to give the person a compliment. He added, “I like when you crack me up with your funny faces.” Next he started this note for his Uncle Chris, “Thank you for being one of the greatest uncles. I love you for teaching me about disc golf.”
Then he paused and asked me, “What was that word where we say something nice about them?” I answered, “a compliment”.
So Elijah added in his note to Uncle Chris, “ I like how talented you are at disc golf and being on TV.” Now that he had a handle on how to write thanksgivings, Elijah wrote these two charming notes for his parents. “Daddy, I thank you and love you for all the things you teach me and being someone to look up to. I like to joke around with you sometimes. I compliment you for being my coach and assistant coach for baseball, basketball and soccer.”
To his Mom he wrote, “I am thankful to have a Mom so we can love each other, cuddle and watch Netflix together. You are so talented in art and being in school.” He insisted on signing each note, “Love, Elijah.” I later got Amari to write one for his brother. He wrote, “ I am thankful for having such an awesome brother. I like how you are good at video games and how we play together. Love, Amari.” I guess video games are high on their joint activity list! Watching their faces as they contemplated what to write is what touched my heart the most.
Later at breakfast the boys’ Dad asked Elijah, “What would you do if you were bullied at school?” Elijah said, “I would go get my brother and if he wasn’t there I would fight for myself because I may be small but I am (and he and his Dad locked eyes and said this together) “mighty”. “We call him small but mighty”, Dad said as he smiled proudly at his son.
As they visited Thanksgiving week, I delighted in how sweet these two boys are. I am thankful they spent a few days sharing their charming personalities – playing scrabble and bird bingo board games, reading Roald Dahl books, enjoying the animals at Safari Park, kicking the soccer ball around and acting goofy while eating sushi.
These young boys, Amari and Elijah, will likely face challenges in life, but they are armed with inner strength that comes from a fierce knowing they are loved by their devoted parents and our big family. May that love open and spread like an umbrella to pull over their heads when the rains come.