Thanksgiving 2008

As some of you know, this past year brought with it the discovery of genetic heart problems in my wife and kids. Currently all is well, but for a while things were extremely tense, as we received one misdiagnosis and bad test result after another.

We did the best we could to keep things from the kids, but it was only a matter of time before some of what we were going through filtered down to them.

My youngest brought it all to a head one day when he was sitting at the dinner table desperately trying to come up with reasons not to eat. He had already tried the old standbys: “I’m not hungry,” “it’s yucky,” and (my favorite) “I had a really big lunch.”

After staring morosely at his food for a while, he flashed me his big pitiful brown eyes. “Daddy,” he said. “I can’t eat. I’m sick.”

“You are?” I answered. “I’m sorry. Where does it hurt.”

He tilted his head forward, opened his eyes even wider, and whispered “my heart.” 

My own heart dropped into my stomach. “What?” I asked.

He looked at me seriously, his bottom lip quivering ever so slightly. “I’m sick in my heart. I don’t think I should eat.”

My wife and I looked at each other, and then I burst out laughing. She did too. “I think your heart will make it through a few bites of chicken,” I said.

His serious face crumpled into disappointment. “Awww…”

When I sat down with my notes last night, trying to figure out what I would write for my Thanksgiving tale, that moment at the dinner table kept popping into my head. I finally gave into it – and then spent the rest of the night trying to figure out how to articulate it for you. In the end, I decided that there was simply too much going on for me to do it justice, and to give it to you straight and without commentary.

This year, of all the things I am thankful for, that simple moment at the dinner table is awfully close to the top of the list. How about you? Have you had any moments that you were thankful for?

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