Week Peek

by - 4:39 PM

It is November and I am thankful.

Thankful for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. For the occasional Beach Boys tune. For hot soup on cold days. I'm thankful for crisp fall weather. Thankful for socks and heavy blankets. For oreo flurries and my handsome husband. Thankful for love. Thankful for independence. For friends and the social media that breaks barriers like time zones and miles and keeps us connected. Thankful for writing and the drive to do so.

I woke up thinking about my Opa this morning. Right away, he was on my mind. And I am thankful that I had an Opa who left me with plenty of good memories to prepare me for going into the first holiday season without him. Memories like setting up the tree together, him and I, and carrying the Christmas village from the attic, piece by fragile piece. He carefully set it up, placing each tiny building meticulously. He left me with memories of his deep baritone, singing along with Christmas carols in the car. There was the year, we shopped together for a digital camera for my Oma. I could feel his excitement radiating.

Here's what it is -- I miss him. A lot.

I was in my car yesterday, listening to Manheim Steamroller's rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" and I found myself tapping on the gear shift. It reminded me of how, in his own vehicle, my Opa was the director of every piece of music he heard. And each car ride was a performance. His arms waved and guided an invisible ensemble as he practiced his first love -- music.

Of course, I haven't stopped thinking about him. I knew that I wouldn't and I hope I never do, but while I know it is normal to miss someone a little extra during the holidays, I guess I forgot until they crept up on me.

But then, I'm thankful. Thankful for the little saving graces -- like my niece. When my Opa died, she knew I was sad. She didn't feel it herself, and maybe didn't quite understand, but she could sense sadness. I remember seeing her and crouching in front of her so I could look into her little face. "Adellia," I said, trying to explain. "You know how you have an Opa who loves you to the moon and back, all day, everyday?"

"You mean, my Opa in Florida?" she asked, understanding sparking in her eyes.
"Yeah," I nodded. "Well, I had an Opa, too."
"Did he love you to the moon and back?"
"He sure did," I told her.

And she got it. She knew why I was so sad and I'll never forget the way she hugged me as tight as her little arms could hug and she patted my back the way her Mom pats hers when she is sad or sick or needs comforting. It's restorative to remember that it doesn't matter how young or old one is, where they live, or what they do -- we can all speak the language of love. Seven years old and she understands how love feels and how bad it must be to lose it.

I'm thankful for that. Thankful for the language of love.

Speaking of the language of love,

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