Dan and I sat outside in front of a fire after Thanksgiving, and talked about what we are thankful for. Everything has changed this year; nothing is what I expected or planned. It’s been a hard year. I would not have made it alone. I am thankful for the support of Dan, my family, my friends, and my colleagues. I could never have gotten through being as sick as I have been in the last year without those who’ve gathered around me.
Especially my mom.
In last week's episode of NBC's This is Us, Rebecca, the mom, tells Kate, the daughter, that when Kate was learning to walk, she was always there, holding her arms out: a mom waiting to catch her daughter. But Kate never quite fell into her arms. Kate didn’t need that from her mom, at least not when she was learning to walk or even in high school, but Rebecca (played by my favorite Mandy Moore) promised her TV daughter that she would always be there, standing with her arms open, in case Kate needed to fall in.
O, have I fallen in. And my mom’s arms have been wide open.
While Dan and I sat outside, my mom’s most recent, sweet gift sat on our kitchen table. It was a box of hot chocolate from Amazon. It was simple but so considerate, and it's the perfect illustration of how gracious my mom is.
First of all, my mom knows that one of my love languages is "gifts." She's been sending me silly gift boxes since I was a kid visiting family in the summers, since before Gary Chapman's idea of love languages, which is that we all feel the love in different ways: gifts, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation. We tend to give love in the way we feel loved. So if you love someone who's love language is physical touch but your is acts of service, you may never think to hug them. Even though you wash the dishes, which is an act of service you would appreciate, they don't feel the love. Anyway, my languages are gifts and quality time, but my mom lives in Arizona. Quality time isn't an option, and just saying she loves me over the phone doesn't make me feel loved, so my mom sent me a gift.
And it was the perfect gift!
During my last visit to the doctor, I switched back to an RA medicine that has one bad side effect: it makes my mouth taste disgusting. No matter what I do to my teeth before I go to bed or how hard I scrub them when wake up, my mouth tastes gross. There are mornings I wake up and want to get as far away from my mouth as physically possible. Like mornings aren't bad enough. Anything bitter or bland or normal is out, especially in the morning. Coffee? No thank you. But I can handle this prescription, even if my mouth tastes nasty. So my mom sent me something to help me handle it: hot chocolate.