'Twas the night before Thanksgiving, and also Mark's birthday eve, and cranberries were simmering on the stove. (I got too lazy to make that rhyme, that's what just happened right there, if you're curious.)
Y'all, there is a reason cranberry is the on-trend red everywhere. It is beautiful. Cranberries are beautiful! So beautiful I had to take a picture and tweet it. And apparently blog about it, because here I am, full of feelings. Triggered by cranberries.
Mark loves loves loves "real" cranberry sauce, so I have gotten a lot better at making it. I grew up with cranberries that took the shape of a can, and if that's wrong, then I don't want to be right. (He doesn't want to be right. Obviously.) So in our house now, we always have several kinds of cranberries, which I actually don't mind at all, because it is Marky's birthday and I actually think his sometimes-food-snobbery is kind of adorable, and being able to cook his favorite thing makes me feel thankful and affectionate. (I will be singing a different tune later when I need to hand-mill them to separate the pulp into a sauce. That is not my favorite.)
But oh man am I glad to feel affectionate right now. It has been a hard and sad week in these parts, for several trite-but-still-real worries about holiday logistics, health issues, planning overwhelm, poor sleep, and also the everything-else-pales-in-comparison sudden illness/death of a friend from a beloved family at our church, the sister of my very dear friend Jeanine, a young mom leaving behind a broken-hearted husband and two beautiful daughters, little girls who came and played at our house several times this week while their family dealt with grief and memorial services, and oh, oh! You cannot watch a sweet child on a playdate, innocently unaware her whole life has just changed, and not spend some time weeping for her, for her daddy the suddenly single parent young widower, for her baby sister who suddenly can't nurse or sleep, for your own children who selfishly-thank-God still do have their mom, will know their mom, whose lives are as they have always known, and will continue to be, at least in this moment. It is a thing not to take for granted. Nothing I or anyone can say to those girls or to Jeanine or her parents will ever make this okay. I ache for them all.
And that's why tonight, amongst other lingering stressors and heaviness, I am feeling thankful and happy for these silly cranberries on my stove. For the fact that I get to roll my eyes and think affectionate pretend-annoyed thoughts of serving two different kinds of the same fruit in one meal. For my husband who will see another birthday tomorrow. For my children who adore him as much as I do. For life and safety and mental health and love. For my parents and siblings, scattered with in-laws celebrating as they had planned, without pain or disruption in this holiday week. For my best friend who will be here any minute for a post-gym hello and hug, knowing I am alone while Marky is on night shift, Marky who will be home safe in the morning, to eat cranberries and birthday cake.
For us, it is a good day, a lovely evening. And for others, I will pray and feel hopeful until they can again too.
Happy thanksgiving eve, happy birthday eve to my darlin' Marky, many merry cranberries to all, and to all a good night.