I'll give you a break from Istanbul and voice some thoughts and feelings I've had over the last few days. We were married in 1996 and had Thanksgiving in America as 1-week newlyweds. By the next year, we were gone, and we've never been "home" for Thanksgiving since. The first year in Singapore, I wondered what we would do for Thanksgiving. I thought maybe I could try to pull the meal off by myself, invite some folks over. And then a precious Indonesian/Chinese-American mom (named Esther) (of one of my students) invited CC and me to the Singapore American Club. That was a ritzy place that required an expensive membership. We'd never land a meal there without an invite from someone with a very nice overseas "package."
And so we went. In front of us was a buffet with better foods and more selections than I'd ever seen in my life, all classic American Thanksgiving foods with a gourmet twist. I could never have imagined what the Lord had in store for me that first year. And the real kick is that Esther reminded me from the first time I met her of an Asian version of my mom.
Each year since, we've opened our home for staff members who might like to come into a real "home" and be family for the day. It's been a blessing to us every year. God has always made it special. And yet, as these holidays creep up on me, even after 14 years, I still get homesick sometimes. Logically, I know I am the Mama now. And it's my job to create the traditions and memories for my own children, and I do that. But it doesn't take away the part of me that misses home. Sometimes I wonder if I am even missing childhood at the same time.
My sweet friend J blessed me with some dark Karo syrup and B gave me the pecans her mom just brought in the luggage when she visited. Pecan pie is, oh so easy, with all the right stuff ready to go in it. But as I made it, I couldn't help but think about when I was a little girl and my dad would take us to Hall's Diner on Sunday nights for a meal. He used to let me choose any piece of pie to order after the meal. I always chose pecan, it was my favorite. And I remember my dad enjoying me always choosing the same kind of pie. My girls had never had it until last Thanksgiving. They liked it! Their memories and experiences are so very different from mine, but I pray they are as good as mine were.
And after much prayer and discussion with my husband, I've decided this past week to take the third grade teaching position for next year. Big Ben will start school in the Fall (I'm hoping his maturity will catch up with his 35lb frame!), and so I decided I'm ready to go back to teaching. It's been 13 years since I've taught full-time. Overwhelming, yes. But I feel like that is the ministry for which God has equipped me. One thing that made the whole decision a lot easier is thinking of my mom. She was a working mom back in the 70's, 80's, 90's and beyond. She worked so that we could attend a Christian school. Knowing that she was able to give her heart to her students each day, but still come home at night and love us so well, makes me think I'll be ok too.
And so, this Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for many things, but today I voice my thankfulness to my parents.