I had already said “no” to this trip.
Too soon after our last driving trip to D.C. Too close to the end of the semester. Too exhausting to live two full days in a metal box.
I hadn’t questioned my decision, not once. My only problem was feeling a bit sentimental over lost Thanksgiving traditions from years gone by. Still, I cured that by just cancelling the holiday. My children and I tucked autumn away in boxes and fast forwarded the house to Christmas with all its sparkly decorations and festive atmosphere.
Then everything changed. A week before my parents were to leave for Michigan, they asked to take my oldest son to visit Grandma Della. And at almost five, I knew Wyatt would do fine. It was Wyatt's mother I was worried about.
By Wednesday night, I still hadn’t made up my mind and asked my husband to decide. No pondering, no agonizing—just a simple “yes.” (Obviously, he lacks the maternal gene.) For some reason, he asked, “Have you thought about going?”
I prayed about it.
By Thursday afternoon, the big red suitcase was packed with enough clothes for three children and me, and we woke before sunrise on Saturday to drive northward to a Grandma who might just outlive us all.
My belief that God said “yes” to me going with my son was confirmed when Saturday night, Wyatt came down with a short-lived stomach flu. Miles away, my church family prayed, and he was almost instantly better, eating a full meal just a few hours later.
Three days, we enjoyed visiting with Grandma. My daddy loved his mother. Wyatt climbed the chestnut tree. Amelia was enamored with the cozy fireplace. And Emerson fell in love with the five ever-whistling, squawking birds in cages just like his favorite pet store.
At the end of day three before bedtime, the rest of us caught the stomach flu. Whether God just delayed the bug’s usual 48 hour incubation period or whether we caught it from somewhere else on the trip up, I’ll never know. But I truly believe when we prayed, God stopped that initial illness in its tracks only to allow us to catch it later so we could finish our 1100 mile drive.
Today, with everyone well but not really prepared to be stuffed with a weighty meal of turkey and dressing, my Thanksgiving was cancelled a second time. So, we said our goodbyes a day early and started for home.
This wasn’t the Thanksgiving I intended...not even the Thanksgiving I’d “not” not planned. But for a chance to see family, I am always thankful.
Photo: Seed-flown milkweed pods in Grandma's lower garden.