Sometimes It’s Hard to Be Thankful …

It was the week before Thanksgiving in 1986 or 7, and I was a young mother standing in a slow line at the post office.  My two preschool-age daughters were happily weaving their way follow-the-leader style down the long velvet divider rope, twirling when they got to the stanchion at the end.  They were being polite (and it was really kinda cute), but I was afraid not everyone in line would feel the same, so I motioned for them to come back and stand beside me.  It was then that an elderly lady (who in hindsight I realize was probably only in her early 60s … yikes!) said to me, “Oh, they’re fine; let them play.  They’re just beautiful.  Such life and energy!”

I smiled and made come comment about how they definitely had energy!  And then a little alarm went off in my head as I saw her reach into her purse and pull out a newspaper clipping.  She slowly unfolded it … and my eyes quickly scanned the page … as she pointed to a picture and said, “This is my granddaughter.” My heart hit the ground.


The woman went on to quietly say that just a couple of weeks before, her daughter and granddaughter had died when their home caught fire and they were trapped inside.  Her granddaughter was just a few years older than my two little twirling beauties.
How do you respond to something like that … especially when the presence of my two full-of-life daughters must have felt like a virtual slap in the face to the kind but grieving grandmother.  As the line continued to slowly move forward, I listened while the woman told me about her son-in-law being out of town on business … the already-cold weather “up north” where her daughter lived … and the heating system that failed.

Then she was called to the counter, and I was left “next” … and numb.  When she finished her business and turned to leave, she said to me, “Give them an extra hug — and I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.”  So very numb.

“Oh, yes, ma’am.  I’ll give them lots of extra hugs.  I’m so sorry …”  And she was gone.

The children in your life … Are you still responsible for their daily care?  Are they “all grown up” with jobs and perhaps families of their own?  Are they your grandchildren?  Are they little bundles of energy who belong to the family next door — or to a close friend?  Do they know you’re thankful for them?

“Give them an extra hug.”

Those hugs are more important than all of the cooking and baking and getting ready for company (or travel) that may be part of your next few weeks.  Please don’t forget that.
Consider this post a big hug from me to you … a loving reminder to not “sweat the small stuff!”  Have fun making memories with those you love!

Now I’m off to finish this post …  You are sooooo gonna love it!

I’ll see you tomorrow night!

I’m linking to Spiritual Sunday at Blogger Spirit
and Seasonal Sunday at The Tablescaper 


  1. It is so true…each day we have here is a gift and that is why it is called the present. I deal with one day at a time, and don’t dwell on rude people or unkind comments or anything that depletes my energy and just makes me feel blah. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, Susan. xo

  2. So true that we all must live in the present and cherish the time as something very special. Give those girls a hug from me. Happy Thanksgiving! ~ Sarah

  3. Many thanks for your reminder. How often we overlook letting people in our lives know how thankful we are for them.

  4. How heartbreaking for that dear lady. I know we take so much for granted…I try to praise God everyday for heat, hot water and a comfortable bed to sleep in as I know so many don’t even have the basics. So many of us have so many things but our families are the only things that really matter! Thanks for posting this story…we all need to be reminded!

    Miss Bloomers

  5. Susan, what a heartbreaking experience and post! But that sweet grieving lady was so right. I never let the opportunity go to tell my kids I love them even though they are in their 20’s… and hugs… you bet!
    Thanks for the reminder that we are so blessed!!!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. So oft we forget. I am thankful I knew my nephew for his 26 years. How strong you must have been to stand there and listen because that is what she needed. You gave her the best, your kind heart. Give your beauties a hug from me too.. Happy Thanksgivings.xo marlis

  7. I always try to thank the Lord for my grandgirls, my goodness, what a sad story, I just shed me a couple of tiers, I do feel very blessed by Him, for my family and my confortable home. My grands are coming next monday to stay with us for a week and I will hug them a lot, they live three hours away. Give your girls a big hug for me and thank you for sharing this story with us. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  8. Thank you, Susan! As a mom to 8 little ones, I do sometimes get so buy that I forget to just stop, live in the moment, and be thankful! What a blessing our sweet babies are!

  9. This post brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing!

  10. A HUGe Hug to you and to your family…anda have a HUGe great T’day…… xoxoxoxox Flavia

  11. A HUGe Hug to you and to your family…anda have a HUGe great T’day…… xoxoxoxox Flavia

  12. Susan, I read this, shed a few tears, then hopped up to tell my own two girls how very grateful I am for them. They are blessings straight from God and I am very grateful. Hugs right back to you and yours, Mindi

  13. A great reminder to love and cherish what we have. it can so easily be taken. But for His grace…..

  14. Hi Susan! Thank you for such a timely reminder! I couldn’t agree with you more. My youngest son took his first out of town road trip (driving himself) w/out us this weekend and all I could think of was how much I wanted him to get back home safe and sound. He is now and I will be sure and give him a great big hug tonight!
    I loved your friends beautiful tablescape you shared with us in the previous post too! It is just gorgeous! She is a natural!
    Thank you so much for visiting and for your sweet comments!

  15. This brought a tear to my eye. I have 3 little ones and at times things get so crazy and hectic I forget to be thankful. Thanks for the reminder. I am a new follower from Tablescaper. Vicky from Mess For Less

  16. I had missed this one.

    I love it. Your girls were beautiful little girls, and I know that every moment, their mom was thankful… IS thankful for the gift of their lives in hers.

    Life’s best instruction for children.
    Hug them. Love them. Repeat.

  17. What a wonderful post. You are so right, we do need to be reminded how precious our children are.

    – The Tablescaper

  18. Wow, what an experience. I can see how you remembered it so vividly. It is so true. We should thank God every day for our children, and every other member of our families. Thank you for sharing this wonderful reminder.