I’ve been thinking about this post for a while, years maybe. Reading my friend Erika’s recent post, The First Robin, brought it to the forefront of my mind once again.
My dad’s parent, my Nanny and Grampy, were bird watchers. I remember sitting with them at their kitchen table, looking out into their yard at the various bird feeders they had strategically placed and rigged with contraptions to keep away the squirrels. They took such pleasure in the simple act of watching the blue jays, sparrows, and cardinals.
Not long after my Nanny passed away, several years after my Grampy, my family found ourselves in a bit of a predicament. We had always spent Christmas Eve at Nanny and Grampy’s house with all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Nanny had been the glue holding the family together. Everyone still made the effort to get together because of her. Her passing was permission for each family to start new traditions.
Given that Christmas Eve was always a day that I looked forward to, being surrounded by the warmth of family, I took on Christmas Eve. It was a bit of a daunting task. Would it hold the same allure as Nanny’s house? Would the new litter of cousins anticipate this day like I had my entire life?
As I worked in the kitchen, executing the carefully thought out menu we had planned, I thought of my Nanny and I missed her. What would Christmas be without her?
At some point during the preparation, I looked out that kitchen window and saw the entire lawn covered in blackbirds. It was as if me noticing the birds was a signal to them. At once, they all lifted off and filled the sky as they flew away.
It was in that moment that I knew that my Nanny was there with me. I have recounted this moment every year as I work in the kitchen preparing Christmas Eve dinner for my family. I catch myself looking out the window for a sign that she is there.
Pantser or planner???? I can’t decide!