The Missing Leaf

There is a leaf missing from my Thanksgiving table. Where once it seated eight or more, the old table is now reduced to a small square. I am hard-pressed to remember a Thanksgiving with so few place settings.

I miss the days of a full home and table. Of four children, hungrily eyeing the rolls. Of the multitude of students who came to us from around the world, full of questions about stuffing and pumpkin pie. I miss the laughter and the broken English, their contributions of hundred-year eggs and coconut rice, kimchi and baklava.

I remember my childhood Thanksgiving celebrations, the gathering of Danish immigrants, their children and grandchildren. The women, loud in the kitchen, fussing over the traditional red cabbage and dark gravy. Of the children’s table, each of us hoping to avoid the cabbage as it got passed around. The traditional American pies alongside the Danish floderand and vaniljekranse.

Now there is a leaf missing from my table; a gap left where it used to be, and only three of us to give thanks around it. We have pushed and jiggled the table to try and close that gap, but it persists, like the crack I feel in my soul at so few place settings.

And on this day I can choose. I can grieve for what I no longer have, or I can be grateful for those full and fulfilling years. I can focus on missing those sweet days behind me, or I can be expectant for good things ahead.

Today, I will give thanks for the passing of years and look kindly on my shrinking table, knowing that in every season of life God gives purpose.

…but I will keep the extra leaf in the closet, just in case.

3 thoughts on “The Missing Leaf

  1. Andrea, once again straight to my soul. We have had a year of great loss (my brother, sweet Barbara Glidden, my dad, Daves dad) I didn’t want to put up the tree this year. I decided I should. I felt heavy as the ornaments from family and the tree topper (a gift from Barb) came out. I had to choose to be thankful for each person and the joy they brought to my life. I reminded myself that we hurt because we love them. They were each a gift. Thank you for your post. I look forward to each one. With love Mimi

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Life keeps changing. Thank you for the Missing Leaf story. After 48 years of marriage, we can look back and see all the journeys we never planned. God is so good even when life doesn’t seem fair.

    Liked by 1 person

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