I'm heading home this morning to spend the week of Thanksgiving with my parents, my brother and my best friend and her family - and I keep finding reasons to delay walking out the door. Because I really can't go home again. When I pull up in the driveway, the place where the house I grew up in stood will be nothing but dirt.
I haven't been down since the hurricane. My parents kept discouraging me from coming. There's nothing you can do. You'll just be in the way. Stay there. You see how powerful the love of a parent can be when you realize at 35 that your parents are still trying to protect you. They didn't want me to see the house that had held eight feet of water for over 24 hours, I suspect, because they wanted me to be able to remember it the way it was - not the images of the stinking, rotting mess that I'm sure they have to sleep with at night.
As a parent myself, I know that it is going to be hard to explain to Quentin where the house went. How does a house just go away?, I'm sure will be one of the first questions. But does it? Doe a house that you lived in with love ever go away? Even if you move? Even if it's torn down? It exists somewhere. In your memory, in your heart, in your mind's eye maybe. Because the structure is more than the studs and the four walls - houses are kind of like people...you either click with them or you don't. You walk in and you get a feeling and you decide "This is home" - or not.
On the same token, on the night before Thanksgiving four years ago, I was racing down to the Coast to try and see my father before he had to undergo emergency open-heart surgery after a cath test that morning (which I knew nothing about). I was in the process of making Thanksgiving dinner for my family, including my parents, when I got the phone call. I didn't make it before he went in to surgery - and, luckily, he survived the surgery. (They had given him a 50/50 shot.)
So no matter what the Coast looks like, no matter what the rubble looks like, one thing is certain. I am still thankful for all that we have. If you have each other and love and spunk, the rest of it will find a way somehow.
But when all of you are bowing your heads to Thanksgiving dinner, please pray a special prayer for those on the Coast eating dinner for the first time in an RV or a FEMA trailer or a restaurant because there's no where to cook a meal. Thankful to be alive and to have a meal to eat, but knowing the pie just won't taste as sweet this year regardless.