Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Thanksgiving Prayer

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Five years ago, I was busting my butt baking pies, side dishes and homemade yeast rolls. I was fielding calls from my kids about who was bringing what and who to our feast. The next day we all ate too much, played games, watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on the living room TV, while the guys scrunched into the extra bedroom to watch football. I have at least three dozen pictures of family, food, and me running around like the turkey we were about to eat when he got his head chopped off. Last year at this time, I was sitting in bed crying because I didn’t know what to wear to my daughter’s house who was hosting the family get together that time. The girls stopped calling me for baking instructions several years ago. I simply didn’t remember how I made homemade bread and stuffing. That night I was up and down all night with leg cramps. Rick spent half the night massaging my calves and wiping the tears that were making a stream to my chin. The next morning, I took some extra Zanaflex and pain pills with me. I maneuvered my power chair to the van and toggled the switch to lower the lift I would ride up and into the van’s dark, empty belly. I decided against the scooter because my legs would need to be elevated all day after the night I had. When we arrived, the grandkids ran to the van to watch me “download” and give the youngest a ride up the portable ramp we bought for their house so I could get inside. The kids insisted in putting it up the night before in case Nanny and Pappa got there early, although getting there at all was a rarity. The day was filled with much of the same things as always. I loved to play charades and win pretty often. Games were no longer possible for me so I took pictures and video. I was so exhausted that I slept sitting up with the one grandson who didn’t care about the disability preventing me from joining in. He sat out the games and made sure I had a drink at all times. My son-in -law gave a blessing on the food as all sat around the table together, except for me and William in the living room. He expressed thanks for all of our many blessings and asked that if it was Heavenly Father’s will, Nanny would feel better soon. I could barely stay awake and MS hug kept me from eating more than a few small bites of the cranberry salad and apple carrot bake that I was once famous for making. Rick knew it was time to go home, and announced our departure while the table was being cleared. Little Sara said, “Nanny! You not gonna have some ‘zert?” The tears were welling up in my oldest daughters eyes and I stayed for “zert” (pumpkin pie and strawberry cheesecake). As soon as we could satisfy the little ones that I had had enough food , fun and diversion, we said our good byes and went home. Rick was silent and so was I. There was nothing to say, it was the same at most of the other family get togethers.
Tomorrow I will be in the kitchen for the first holiday in such a very long time. Nanny is in charge of only the “zerts” tomorrow because I’ll be doing the main meal for Christmas. This year, it will be in mine and Rick’s home, as it was in the past. The scooter and power chair are in the storage room with blankets over them. We sold the handicapped equipped van a couple of months ago. We gave the ramps away too. We are playing charades again. I intend to regain the championship this year. Everyone is so excited that a couple of the kids are coming to spend the night tonight so we can start the celebration a little early. I’m babysitting my grandson for a few hours with Pappa so my youngest daughter can run a few errands. Rick is video taping him trying to walk. He doesn’t want to walk, but grandpa wants the video. Nanny is staying out of it and hiding behind my computer.
I can’t wait to get up in the morning and get busy. I can’t help but think about the last year and all that has transpired. I have friends who could be writing this about their own Thanksgiving stories thanks to a life saving procedure that made it all possible. This year I have more to be thankful for then ever. But a couple of tears have still managed to slide down the sides of my face as I think about friends who are still waiting and hoping that they will join the growing number of liberated people who have suffered the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis for too long. I wish I could say that they will all soon have their turn, but I know it isn’t true. My Canadian friends are not permitted to regain their health and self respect. Those in my country face difficult roadblocks to liberation as do many others around the world. It is wrong, there is no equity or justice in this reality, but that will change. We are strong and growing in number. Deep inside I pray that those who oppose this medical advancement are doing so out of legitimate concern for their constituents. I fear that is na├»ve and unrealistic, but at least I pray their hearts will soften and the need to be compassionate human beings outweighs the need for power and money. That will be my Thanksgiving prayer this year.
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