Eleven O’Clock Crew

Sifting once again through photos of Christmas 2011 got me thinking about why I’m thankful. It’s good exercise, don’t you think?–using the old gratitude muscle?

Family Picture 2011022

Here in Spain, folks are going about their normal business.  Back home, everyone’s revving up to be thankful, via very large sit-down dinners that will begin around midnight our time, when we will express our final thanks to each other and call it a day.

Yes, we have plans for tonight.  We’re getting together with some other ex-pats who don’t get off work until late, so our Thanksgiving will begin around 8:30.

However, in our temporary home, I find myself thinking about what makes me feel grateful, and the “what” is the Eleven O’Clock Crew.

Eleven O’Clock Dad, Mr. Efficient, is the logistics man.  Our lives run a lot smoother with him keeping our tracks well lubed.  Command of details comes so easily to him.  It’s a nice trait in a partner.

My Primogenito, as they say here in Spain.  My Oldest. (On his chromatic harmonica, a gift from his grandfather.)

Clave on Harmonica 2011028

He’s got so much soul, this boy!  My late-nights with him were the inspiration for my blog name, Eleven O’Clock mom.  We’d always get talking right around 11 pm (without fail, seemed like) and sometimes not finish until 4.  The other day, a new friend sent me a short video she’d taken of him.  Seeing his face and hearing his voice put the hugest (is that a word??) smile in my heart.  And his megawatt smile.  Wow.  Yep.  Plenty of thanks there.

My Girls, my Petals.

Me and the Girls 2011026

I’ve sometimes called them that because they both have faces just like those of the fairy children in Cecily Mary Barker’s flower fairy illustrations.  Tessa always looked to me like the Windflower Fairy, and Millay, like the Zinnia.  Now that they’ve been in the wonderful world of teenagehood for a while, I recognize how often their relative “older-ness” has been a blessing to me.  Once, during a dark moment in my life, they ministered so tenderly to their mother.  I had gone outside to sit alone on the front doorstep.  Miss Z. came out and quietly asked if she could make me something hot to drink, and when I nodded yes, she disappeared inside to begin her preparations.  Miss Lavender simply came out, sat down beside me without saying a word, and put her hand on my back.  Presently, Miss Z. returned with a steaming cup of herbal tea and sat down beside me on the other side.  I remember thinking how distinctly lucky I was in that moment, having my two daughters flanking me.  The solidarity they offered wasn’t just powerful; it was cosmic.  I’ll remember it the rest of my life and beyond.  

And Mr. Caboose, the Joy Boy.

Goose on Ornament 2011051

(If you’re wondering about all the names I coin for my crew, see my Nickname post!)  If my oldest is the soul and my girls the heart, then Goose is the fun.  Never content to be still, he wants to see, do, climb, leap, run, laugh, tease. And that’s the short list. But it’s impossible to be around him for sixty seconds and not think, Man, what’d they put in his DNA and can I throw some back too?

Thanks Eleven O’Clock Crew. Not just for being you but for being mine.

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