My Asian adventurer.
Late November has rolled around once again and another holiday season is about to unfold. Our thoughts inevitably turn to what matters most.
Like people all around the planet and throughout all time, on these special festival days we crave the company of our families and we ache for those who cannot be with us.
I miss many of my dearly departed family members - my grandfather who carved many a turkey in his handmade cable knit sweater vests, my good German grandmother who served heaping holiday relish trays of homemade pickled beets and peppers. I feel bittersweet nostalgia for my mother's holiday disappointments because real life never quite lived up to her longings.
But I do not miss my third-born daughter.
Well. Of course I miss her. Every mother knows the hole we feel in our hearts whenever our sons and daughters are away from us.
There is always an empty place at the table for her, an empty chair that belongs to her.
But I do not regret her absence or mourn for her to be with us. Because she is doing something important.
She is following her dreams.
She is changing the world.
She is obeying God's call into her life.
And every day I celebrate the way she lives her life.
Even if she is far away from me.
So on Thanksgiving Day, I will raise a glass in her name and give thanks for her. I will probably Facetime her and hear about how she spent her Thanksgiving away from us.
Then, in the end, I will look at that empty chair and smile. Because for right now, even though we are apart for the holidays, she is exactly where she is supposed to be.
And soon she will be home for Christmas.