Today is Thanksgiving and amid all the food and football I can’t stop thinking about my parents. My dad died in January 2008, my mom in November 2009. While I remember many, many things about my parents, one thing my mother always said when we gathered for holidays or other special occasions at their dinner table keeps coming back to me at this holiday.
She always sat at one end of the table, my dad at the other. My brother and sister and I along with our spouses and kids filled in the seats between them. My mom would point at us and then, smiling, her eyes brimming, say to my dad, “Look what we did.”
She was talking about us, about bringing my siblings and me into the world, raising us to be good people and taking such joy in how we’d turned out and how our family had grown. It was sweet and touching but, like so much in life, I didn’t fully appreciate it until it was my turn to sit at the head of the table.
When we sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner tonight, I will be at one end of the dining room table we inherited from my parents and my wife will be at the other. The rest of the chairs will be filled with our sons, daughter and daughter-in-law, other members of both sides of our families and our friends. And I will look at my wife, smiling, my eyes wet and I will tell her, “Look what we’ve done.”
And in that moment, I will be thankful for many things but more than anything else, I will be thankful for my parents.