store-bought chocolate cream pie

When I was growing up, we went to church Thanksgiving Eve.

We’d sing Thanksgiving songs, including “Thanks to God for my Redeemer”. It’s a Swedish song, with bittersweet lyrics, including

Thanks for prayers that Thou hast answered,
Thanks for what Thou hast denied.

True lyrics, but interesting formation for a ten-year old. I was learning from my Swedish ancestors that thanksgiving comes with remembering the challenges.

We would have a time for people to share what they were thankful for. These were early speaking times for me, talking to adults about something emotional.

And then we would have pie. Perhaps even more than the hug for talking, I looked forward to the pie. At home, Thanksgiving meant pumpkin and apple. Not being a fan of pumpkin, and not being a fan of crust (at the time), I always hoped for store-bought chocolate cream pie, the kind with graham cracker crust. And I was seldom disappointed. Someone would always take the easy way, buying instead of making, not realizing that some of us loved store-bought.

Fwd: MomYears later, I had the opportunity to influence Thanksgiving Eve programming. I chose the songs. I led the service. And I tried for a couple years to talk people into having pie.

And then I talked to my mom. She laughed ruefully. She talked about the migraines she always had on Thanksgiving Day. From losing sleep baking the turkey, from hosting one side of the family or another or a random collection of guests, and even from having to spend time baking pies so they would be ready for Wednesday night.

She never talked about the migraines when I was young. There is a cost for a giver, in time and love, for those things the rest of us take for granted.

I never pushed again for pie on Thanksgiving Eve.

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I wrote this post five years ago, before pneumonia took my dad’s body and Alzheimer’s took my mom’s awareness of time and place and person. But I’m grateful for this laugh with her this week. And for my sisters Joy and Jill who share a table with Mom most days. And know first hand that there is a cost for a giver, in time and love. And are willing to pay that cost.