What a nice Thanksgiving we had this year!  For the first time in at least 6 years (it’s been so long, I’ve lost count), we spent Turkey Day with my parents in Pennsylvania.  It almost seemed odd not to be sharing the day with our surrogate family in Waxhaw, NC, as we have for the past several years.  However, being able to simply take a short drive to PA to be with my actual family is really very lovely.  It felt all warm and fuzzy (nuzzy) to be at my parent’s house.  While it wasn’t exactly Rockwellian in comparison (my parents ordered the food from The Giant after all), it was the place and the company that mattered.  It was great to be “home.”

While mom and dad slaved over the microwave (call humbug if you want, but I promise, you wouldn’t want my mom to be cooking anyway) the kids, hubby and I did something we’ve always wanted to do but haven’t until this year:  we volunteered at a soup kitchen.  Hubby’s restaurant cooked and donated all the food and we helped serve it at a church in a needy section of the Philly ‘burbs.  Overall it was a fantastic experience.  I was especially proud of my 5 year old.  While I figured she’d be the one to participate only under threat of coal and switches, she surprised us all by jumping in wholeheartedly.  I think she mainly just wanted to hang out with Daddy and  help cook, but regardless of her motivation, I know it was a great experience for her.  I hope we can continue to do things like this with her and eventually she will come to understand the purpose and will want to do it for reasons more altruistic than self-serving.  Either way, she had a great time helping.  I love a 5 year old’s contagious enthusiasm for doing anything that helps make mom or dad smile.  “Here Sophia…bring these sodas to the ladies sitting over there”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         “OK Daddy!  I’d love to!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And you know the patrons got a kick out of seeing a cute little girl running around  the place.

Matt and Sophia with Buca coworker Caroline, carving up the turkeys.

Matt, Sophia and coworker Caroline, carving up some turkeys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       My ten year old on the other hand…different attitude altogether.  It was sort of embarrassing actually.  She’s the one who needs to see how priviledged she is compared to others.  She’s the one I thought would learn the most from doing this.  Being the good Catholic school girl she is, I also believed she would have a well-developed sense of responsibility and stewardship toward others less fortunate.  HAH!  Little Miss Abercrombie and Fitch couldn’t have been less inspired to help than if Jesus Himself had asked her not to do it.   She spent the whole time looking like someone who was being forced to scrub toilets with a toothbrush.  I blame myself though.  I set my expectations too high for a girl who has spent the past 10 years living in a bubble of priviledge that sees no suffering beyond a hangnail.  How could I not expect her to feel uncomfortable in this setting?  I myself admit to feeling a bit weird there too, but at as an adult, I know how to hide that and just get to work and do what’s necessary.  Emma simply didn’t want to be there.  Not because she thought she was too good to be there.  Not because she was disgusted by it (although you wouldn’t have believed it by the look on her face).  She just didn’t know how to act and was overwhelmed by the strangeness of it all and by the hustle and bustle of what was a very crowded rectory hall.  I guess I can’t really hold it against her.  You can’t force a person to suddenly have feelings of “good samaritanism”.  But we sure as heck are going to be working on it!  I think Matt may have even threatened to send her back to Catholic school once or twice.  Hopefully it won’t come to that, but in the meantime, expect to see us showing up at the local soup kitchen a lot more often!

Matt's buddy, Joaquin, joins our family photo.

Matt's buddy, Joaquin, joins the family for a photo. Emma was still smiling at this point. Sophia is wiped out.