Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a beautiful Thanksgiving morning this was!

My wife and I went for about a one hour walk starting at 9:30 this morning. I always enjoy these walks with my gal because it gives us uninterrupted time to talk about anything and everything. It also helps pass the 60-90 minutes quickly. Otherwise we’d have to focus on the rigorous pace at which we are walking.

During the conversation, something dawned on me. In all of my time on this planet, I have been through 38 Thanksgiving days. I have been with my Dad on this Holiday only three times. Those years celebrating Turkey Day with Pop were 1969 (the year of my birth), 1970 and ’71. Mom and Dad were on the brink of divorce in 1971 with the dissolution becoming official in October of ’72. Instead of the usual disdain I start to feel for my father, I actually became thankful for all of the Holidays I have now.

Our tradition is to have Thanksgiving dinner at my in-laws’ home, with my Mom and brother also attending. I suddenly realized today that the five people I’m having dinner with on this day are easily the five most cherished people to me on this earth.

-Mom and Dad Yerger. From the very first day I ever met them (Labor Day, 1998) they have received me and welcomed me into their home. Any parent’s first inclination is to be suspicious of a young man looking to marry their younger daughter. However, they always loved me unconditionally because their daughter did so and they had unshakable faith in their little girl.

-My bro, Eric. As a kid I was an insufferable bully to my brother, who is two years younger than I. I grew up with a lot of misplaced anger, in part because Eric & I didn’t have a man around the house to show us how to be respectable. Thankfully, Eric & I are good buds today, in large part because we empathize with each other in how difficult our growing up years became. That and we always have many good laughs at our Dad’s expense. Hey, I’m not saying we’re being the most dignified by ridiculing the man who abandoned us at ages 3 & 1. But, in this case, laughter is the best medicine.

-My Mom. What can you say about a woman who was thrust into the ranks of single-motherhood at age 30 and yet never displayed her bitterness in front of her young kids? I remember vividly when Eric and I were ages 3 & 5, respectively, and living with Mom in the Highland Park area of St Paul. We could not afford a car at the time and Mom would have to take two MTC buses across town to get to work at 3M. The winters were the worst. We’d get up at 5:30 am and walk to the babysitters in those brutal conditions before Mom would catch her bus. It was dark leaving our house in the morning and going home in the evening. Thankfully, Mom found a two-bedroom apartment in St Paul that summer. It was literally across the street from an elementary school and two miles away from 3M. While we lived in that apartment for 11 long years, Mom always made it feel like a home. She spent all of that time saving every extra penny to someday achieve the dream of living in a home of our own. So in the Summer of 1986 when Mom bought a townhouse, it might as well have been a 10,000 square-foot mansion! Yes, at ages 17 & 15, us kids FINALLY had our own bedrooms!! All of those years of Mom putting her own personal needs aside finally paid off in the blessing of a new home!

-My wife, Jennifer. I could literally take up several pages in a novel writing about my favorite gal. Her gentle, sweet spirit is a great balance for my somewhat temperamental demeanor. In 1997, I compiled a list of the top 20 qualities I would like to see in my ideal woman. I prayed diligently over that list for about a year. It wasn’t until a May 1999 car ride from Green Bay, WI that I realized I had that list in my planner. I read it to my fiancĂ©e, whom I’d been engaged to for three months. Not only did Jen fulfill all twenty desires on that list, she has even more wonderful attributes about her which I adore. It has been the #1 blessing in my life to have a person with whom I can share all the joy and happiness which God has bestowed upon me. Jen & I have a motto for our life together: The Best is Yet to Come! Given that every year in our relationship has been better than the preceding year, we are expecting continued supernatural blessings for our lives!

So on this day which is set aside specifically for giving thanks to all that is good in life, I can say I am truly blessed.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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