So many Thanksgivings in 34 years. Most of them filled with crazy family scenarios and food eaten.
This Thanksgiving I can't stop reflecting on what this year has meant for us. My heart and mind has spent hours this week thinking of the friends and family that came to support us in our time of need. I think of our parents and siblings who came out to take care of us. Our friends who provided meals and fellowship while in the hospital. I think of James Brittenham who came after school on that Wednesday of Meara's second surgery and stayed with us until after Meara was taken back to the OR to have her resection. How he sat with Meara on the hospital bed that afternoon and played with her. How he sat in the room with me just being my friend and offering his strength to us. I think of the Pietersma family who came by that evening to once again wrap their loving arms around us and for the opportunity to see with our own eyes how Dakota is thriving because Douglas and Tifara had the courage to make the difficult decision of surgery one year earlier. I think of Chris and Dave Short who stayed with us that night at the hospital in the surgery waiting room until 1:30am in the morning offering us their silent strength and love as we waited for hourly updates from the surgical team.
I think of the doctors, nurses, specialists, custodial staff, cafeteria staff, etc. who could have chosen a different vocation but instead decided in their own way to somehow make an impact on our lives…whether they know it or not. I think of the families who came from sometimes far away to offer us community because they had been through the same surgeries with their own children.
Our life, our family…it's not simple. Daily, we deal with the same challenges that every family deals with. But gratitude is simple. It's knowing that if not for the generosity of so many people in our lives that we would have never made it through Meara's journey. Thinking back to the decisions we had to make, reflecting on the actual procedures that the doctors performed and risks and consequences of those decisions… it brings me to my knees.
In those moments...during the most difficult moments of this journey I wasn't on my knees. We were standing tall as a family because of the people in our life lifting us up. Somehow the strength that you gave us got us through this most difficult but yet amazing journey with our beautiful and courageous daughter.
This Thanksgiving there will be food eaten and memories made. We will not forget this Thanksgiving the people in our lives and the love and hope that you have given us.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone…
Aaron, Megan, Meara, and Ainsley