For the last couple years, we've had a few of our kiddos from downtown join us for a Thanksgiving meal at my parents' house. We talked about doing the same thing again this year, but we felt led to do something a little different instead. One of the reasons we usually have these particular kiddos over for Thanksgiving is because their family is never able to do anything for Thanksgiving. I mean, one of the kiddos asked me if I could bring him a bologna sandwich for Thanksgiving. Umm, no, I will not. That's just plain wrong. ANYWAYS, sorry for all the rambling that has nothing to do with my point. That never usually happens around here. ha.
This year, we felt like it was really important to give this family a Thanksgiving dinner that they could enjoy AS A FAMILY. Rather than taking the kids out of their neighborhood and to our beautiful house in the suburbs, we wanted to remind them what a gift their own neighborhood and family are, and to give them a chance to celebrate that.
Since I have literally never actually made anything for Thanksgiving dinner, I was grateful that my parents chipped in and helped us order a complete Thanksgiving meal from Publix. I was shocked to realize I still had to spend hours in the kitchen "reheating" everything. And by "I," I mean Adam. I mean I definitely helped. If by "helped" you mean "sat on the couch and watched Mary Poppins."
We finally finished warming everything up, packed up our car, and headed to the park that is about a block from our new house (side note: for the LOVE when will we get to move into our new house?!!). One of the many reasons I'm excited about moving to this particular neighborhood is that our house is just a few blocks away from this family (who we have worked with and become friends with for a few years now). The park by our new house has some covered picnic tables, along with a playground, which we were hoping would help entertain the kiddos when they weren't eating their food.
Adam and Jayci played on the playground while I guarded the food and shared the picnic area with a some other folks who might or might not have been engaging in some "extracurricular activities" involving illegal drugs. Luckily, they left just as Danielle came back with our friends. We served up the food, gave thanks for a beautiful day and wonderful friends, and ate. And ate some more. My favorite part of the meal was when April (the kiddos' momma) got her food and sat at an empty table, all her kiddos (all 6 of them) gathered their plates and left our table to join her at hers. And that, right there, is exactly why we decided to celebrate Thanksgiving this way this year.
I was really excited to get a picture of sweet and beautiful miss April with all her kiddos. I realized, however, that this is an impossible task seeing as her kids literally never stop moving. Literally. And I also realized that I have never admired a mother more than I admire April. She has raised her children with dignity and love, despite really difficult circumstances, not a lot of resources, and not enough help.
They wanted to take a picture with Jayci, and I warned them that she was a little less, ummm "rough and tumble" than their brothers, so look how sweet they were. Love it.
haha this is how they spent most of their time.
I love this special family. And I am thankful for the way they have changed and enriched our lives.
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
God sets the lonely in families,
he leads out the prisoners with singing" Psalm 68:5-6