We missed you baby girl. The quiet that filled the dining room as we each missed you engulfed the five of us momentarily. I had purposely not looked at the table prior to dinner, evidence of my continued defiance. I don't accept just five chairs.
On the ride home, I slipped quietly into solitude as the boys listened to the football game. No one wants to be around a sad sack -so I looked for one good thing. Instead of just one, I listed twenty items for which I am thankful, because I am thankful:
1. For this picture from a holiday past. You are so beautiful, so peaceful sleeping in that chair.
2. For the music you downloaded to my phone over a year ago. The boys can listen to professional football for two hours in the car; I cannot.
3. For flashing green eyes that were fierce when you intended to win and ever-kind when you intended to love.
4. For a wit that loved to spar, that never lacked a movie line, and never turned down the last word.
5. For your sweet, sassy voice when offered a choice between pumpkin and pecan pie that always said, "both - duh!"
6. For the afternoon sun late in November kissing the tree tops at the end of the day setting the sky ablaze with hues of amber.
7. For strong women who taught me to pray for my children, to be there, and to embrace the individuals my children would become.
8. For cousins whose laughter and rough housing fill our hearts and homes.
9. For the unique way you could curl up against your daddy's chest, warmed by a blanket and occupying the entire couch.
10. For being the big sister that tormented and teased your brother until his mother jumped in to his rescue.
11. For your fabulous friends that send sweet thoughts to your mama on Thanksgiving.
12. For Wani and Kim who always remember you.
13. For your little brother who keeps the banter alive and always "volunteers" to catch the brunt of our verbal barrage.
14. For a family that adores you and us and creates gatherings and memories and moments of warmth and belonging.
15. For a faith that allows me to pray, to cry, to question, and to rest in the arms of a God who provides.
16. For the relationship between your daddy and your brother, the ease with which they laugh with each other.
17. For the friends who loved on us today.
18. For your daddy's hand reaching into the backseat when I couldn't keep from crying.
19. For twenty years of memories with you that will one day fill this cavern of sorrow with joy.
20. For being your mom.