I have a bruise. A really glamorous purply, blue bruise. It’s on my left wrist, and it’s just about the size of a softball. That makes sense, because its from playing on a rec softball league, and I stopped a ball at second base and it hit my hand instead of my glove. ” Trust the glove,” a friend said. Well I tried, but it still hit me in the hand. I’ve got some learning to do when it comes to softball. “Room for improvement,” they might say.
My bruise, however, is nothing compared to what my brother has got going on. This week he had an accident on his scooter, where he got cut off by a truck, and slid on some gravel and turned the thing over on its side. Luckily he escaped with just some scrapes and bruises. Some serious bruises. Boy are those colors beautiful – yellow to red to purple – there is a rainbow in there. That’s got to hurt when he lays on his side. We are all thankful that he wasn’t hurt more seriously, and that his injuries resulted in some pain, inconvenience, and time off from work to heal. We got lucky with this one.
What was more beautiful, in fact, was what came from his injury, and I am thankful for it. Because Sam got in an accident he was staying at home; my parents taking care of him. Dylan was with friends, so I asked to come over for a free meal. This week, for the first time in many, many years we had a family dinner with just me, my brother, my mom and my dad. Now we have quite frequently sat down to share a meal recently, but there was always a welcomed addition – a grandmother, a friend, a fiancé. On Friday night, for whatever reasons, it was just us original four. We all sat at our customary places from when we were growing up – I had my back to the big glass door, Sam sits across from me next to the counter. My parents hold strong at opposite ends of the creaky kitchen table with the chairs my dad built himself and we sit on itchy cushions my mom knit years ago. It wasn’t a fancy meal, and the conversation wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but this ordinary moment felt incredibly beautiful to me.
We’ve been through a lot over the past few years, and to be honest, being all together did not always feel good. It is hard to watch those you love suffer, and we’ve all been working on so much personal growth. At times, this growth pulls us in different directions, to perhaps separate corners of the house, or separate towns or school or work while we figure out who we are going to be as individuals in the world.
We used to make fun of my mom because while I was in college she used to get teary when we could all sit down together for dinner. This time, it was me. So much of family life happens around that square little table. It’s a routine I treasure, and I am so thankful my parents made an effort to gather us each night for a meal. Even if that meal was popcorn, and cheese, and apples on Sunday evenings (Grocery day was Monday don’t ya know). It is a tradition and a value I hope to instill with my own family some day. And as I continue to grow and change and prepare to leave my family in the traditional sense, and my brother starts out his own life on his own terms, and my parents embrace that term “empty nesters” I know that I can always return to sit at that table. New memories will be made, and maybe other additions brought in, but the power of the “original four” melts my heart. I’m thankful we keep fighting for each other, and that we keep returning to our spots at the table. I hope they continue to sit by me, and bless the food, and bless each other in ways we never could have imagined.