What is it about some people that they can fill your heart so full of love that it actually hurts? For most people, it is a spouse, a child or grandchild, a friend or other family member, and even a pet. For me, besides my sisters, it is “my Australians.” They aren’t really mine. They belong to the world, themselves above all, and each other. Still, they are and will always be my very special “family of my heart.”
Here’s the back-story, though some may have read previous posts about my Aussies… the mum came to stay with me and my former spouse as a seventeen-year-old exchange student needing an emergency placement for the Thanksgiving weekend. Providence. She stayed the rest of the year, turned eighteen, and went back home to work, save cash, and backpack throughout Europe for two years.
Over time, she began to fly for Qantas, and would come to visit us on layovers when she flew out of Sydney to Los Angeles. We wrote letters back and forth on that old onionskin airmail paper. She married the perfect man for her (he is pretty awesome), had two lovely sons (just as awesome), and continued to visit, write, and otherwise keep our friendship alive. In some ways, she was the best thing ever to come out of our marriage. We visited her in Sydney once in 2006, and she guided us everywhere for three fabulous weeks. She visited us many times in Arizona alone and with her boys.
When our marriage crumbled, she offered to fly to the other side of the globe to our prospective states in the U.S. to console each of us. She was as heartbroken as we were.
In 2012, Jen brought her boys to North Carolina to visit, and thank God, Patrick and Jack fell in love with my tiny house, my neighborhood, and my state. I pinch myself to realize that they have been back every year to fill my home and my heart with joy. This year, Patrick turns eighteen on the day before Thanksgiving. He told us last year, he wanted to spend his eighteenth birthday with me, just like his mother did all those years before.
We will have decorations, pizza, cake, my sister and the neighbors will come over. We will sing the “never-ending” birthday song. We will eat lunch at a diner, and go to the movies beforehand. We will talk, laugh, hug, eat, and I will probably weep a bit from pure-T “overwhelm-ed” happiness. On Thanksgiving morning, we will drive to the Lake, and do it all over again with others whom I love, and who love me.
Hoo-boy. It doesn’t get much better than this. What’s your Thanksgiving Story?