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Our Thanksgiving did not go the way we planned.

Ralph has been working seven days a week for the last month. He was able to get Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off, when his coworkers got Thursday off. This was in part because we had already paid for the hotel suite in Lafayette, Indiana, a drive of four hours. On Wednesday, he drove to get Will from his apartment so that he could travel with us to see his grandmother. The trip exhausted him, but he made it.

On Thursday, I drove the entire trip because Ralph was exhausted from working for a month with no days off. We usually take turns driving.

Some parts of the weekend did go as planned. We almost always travel to Indiana to visit Grandma Coletta on Thanksgiving. 17 years ago, due to her move to senior housing, she could no longer have us as overnight guests. So we began to rent a hotel suite with full kitchen, two bedrooms and baths, and living room with fireplace. We then have her visit us for the two days.

She doesn’t like Turkey, so I always try to make something that she likes and can eat. She is 89 this year (our best guess since she has never divulged her age). This year, we bought precooked food, (braised beef tips and potatoes). It probably wasn’t healthy, but she did like it and was able to chew it. Some  years I can’t get the cooking right. This year, she was pleasant to be around. Some years we have had to deal with paranoia, delusions, resentment, and/or downright disagreeableness. On the other hand, she didn’t seem to have the ability/energy to initiate conversation or answer direct questions. But we found that when we watched football together and talked about it with each other, she was able to chime in, to participate.

We couldn’t get the heat regulated in our suite this year. It was 80 most of the time. In the past, every time she has been in the suite, we always kept the heat turned up to keep her comfortable, but it was uncomfortable even for her. Nevertheless, it was a good visit this year. We are thankful for that.

Friday night, I turned over in bed and had an attack of vertigo. I grabbed Ralph’s arm for support, and said, “My vertigo is back. I can’t drive tomorrow.” I have had several days long episodes of vertigo in the past 12 years, usually separated by a few years. The last two years, it has been a more frequent visitor. In an instant, my life becomes more limited and uncomfortable. Saturday morning, I couldn’t eat breakfast and suffered nausea as well. It could be that the prepared convenience foods didn’t agree with me and the heat dehydrated me. On the last day, we usually go over to Grandma Coletta’s apartment to visit for a few hours before we go home. But we didn’t want to expose her to my possible illness, so Ralph visited her for a few minutes, then he drove us home. He was still so tired, but God kept us safe. I didn’t say anything about the speed at which he drove. The vertigo subsided, but I was afraid that I would have it again that night, and not be able to drive Will back. I knew that Ralph would not allow me to drive, even though he would have to drive after a day of work. I prayed the vertigo would be gone so that I could drive the next day, instead of Ralph. The vertigo was gone last night, and I could in good conscience, drive.

Ralph had planned to cook the turkey after we got home and have Will help him take the Christmas tree out of the upstairs closet and start putting it together. Will brought the Christmas decorations down, but didn’t put anything together. Other Thanksgivings we have put the decorations up on the Saturday after coming home from Indiana. Ralph put the turkey in the oven. We planned to eat it at 10:00 p.m. when it would done. We usually have the Turkey on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, but Ralph was required to work on Sunday. At 8:00 p.m., I discovered that he forget to turn on the oven. The turkey wasn’t done until 1:00 a.m. We deboned the turkey and put it in the refrigerator. The four of us had our turkey dinner at 11:00 a.m. before I took Will back to his apartment. I prepared a plate for Ralph to eat after work. (He really liked it).

I am so thankful. Our holiday didn’t go as planned, but God kept us safe. We had a visit with Grandma Coletta which was encouraging to her and us. We were able to fix food that she wanted to eat. Due to the attack of vertigo and nausea, I was reminded that I am not in control. My family took care of me. God took care of me. The ornaments and the tree are still in the boxes, but at some point, we will decorate the house for Christmas. We couldn’t eat our dinner together due to circumstances beyond our control, but we were able to eat a nice turkey dinner. Will is back at his apartment (although we did discuss him putting new wheels on his car so that he can drive himself to our house next time and not be dependent on us.)

There is so much to be thankful for.