As part of what has become somewhat of a Sunday tradition, Kevin made us breakfast on that late October morning.
It was the boys’ first taste of canned corned beef hash. So bad for you but just once a year, it sho’ does hit the spot. I even sniffed around for Dinty Moore Beef Stew at our Key Food but (thankfully) they didn’t have it.
As Kevin cooked behind the closed door with the stove fan whirring, I asked the boys if they could recall their dreams from the night before. I recall every vivid detail each night, while Kevin cannot recall a thing so I wondered who they would take after. The boys told me some of what they could remember. I told them that I dreamt of when I was in my 20s, laughing with my girlfriends.
Micah commented, “But we weren’t around then. Did you miss us in your dream?” Ellis chimed in, “Yeah!”
[Feeling tears form] “It was long before we ever knew there would be a precious Micah and a precious Ellis. That young Jihee didn’t know what she was missing!” [Kissing their faces after wiping corned beef hash grease offa my lips].
I had to head out to Manhattan while the boys went to church. I had (finally) signed up for a photography class through Groupon so that I could learn the basics of my DSLR. I hate to miss church on any given Sunday but this was the only time slot that would fit my schedule before the colder weather set in.
I packed everything into a huge, 90’s-esque, pink backpack I had found in our closet and made sure I took my red thermos. It was going to be cold and some of the class was going to be held outside.
Early as usual but once the big class got underway, I took a still-hot sip from the red thermos. That was the moment I teared up with gratitude. I felt it warm my body from head to toe, and it wasn’t just the warm liquid in my bones.
I had been fed a savory hot meal by my husband, flanked by two sons who could not fathom a 20-something Mommy before they were glimmers in her eye, and now I was privileged enough to be in a class I had been wanting to take for years, sipping hot barley tea from this red thermos.
Everyday, I know I am loved. But in that moment, I felt all of it. I FELT so loved that my eyes leaked.
I don’t even own my own thermos because I didn’t think I’d use one. This red thermos I keep talking about was passed off to me the night before at our dear friends’ house. These are friends who have made me challenge the belief of my parents that “only blood will truly be there for you.” These are friends who make folks feel so at home in their home.
Other folks may have bigger, fancier homes but can also make me feel like I got to walk on eggshells. I would make sure I am not a burden in any way and when my kids were babies and toddlers, I would make sure I didn’t leave a trace of them anywhere. The gift of hosting truly is a gift.
As we left that night, my friend knew I was headed to my little photography class and insisted I borrow her thermos. I kept refusing because I didn’t want to take her stuff. She wouldn’t take no for an answer as she packed us up some homemade pumpkin pie that her baker sister had baked while we were together.
I had already felt so loved and cared for when she practically made me take her thermos. I think I love to be bossed around sometimes by loved ones. I am not the mom or the big sister in those moments. It makes me feel cared for.
When I started drinking from my friend’s thermos among this motley crew of strangers wanting to learn how to use their cameras, I felt an urge to testify: I AM SO VERY LOVED.
I can’t include all the other moments from this year alone where I *FELT* so loved because this post is already too long. But man, those moments are such gifts that I can’t help but raise my hands to the heavens and say, “Thank you!” Just one example: When Micah was hospitalized for 2.5 days in May for a severe asthma attack, one of my O.G. friends from Cali reached out to me: “Of course, we are praying for you but I need to do something more. Can I please send you a meal?”
Because of our close friendship and the way she didn’t say, “If there’s anything I can do, name it…” (which is also kind but hard for me to ever respond to), I was able to say “yes” without feeling like I was putting her out. As soon as we were sprung from the hospital, with another good friend driving us home, some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had was brought to us without us ever having to make a single decision about our next meal.
As we approach Thanksgiving this week, I thank God for these You Loved Me moments that make me a rich woman. Please share your You Loved Me moments!
*And please know that though you may not FEEL it every moment of every day, YOU are so loved.*
You are God’s precious child, a parent’s unique gift (there is no one else like you), a friend’s comfort and delight (quality, not quantity), and a part of this universe’s miraculous story.
Wishing you a Red Thermos Thanksgiving 2016. You are beloved.