Hands were held around the table as the blessing was said. The smell of delicious food wafted up and the nieces and nephews squirmed and smiled as they waited for the words of thanksgiving to be completed. Some of the adults breathed a sigh of relief as they were hungry and ready to eat, while others took a sigh of relief as they finally got to sit down for a moment and take a break. Food was distributed and mouths were full.
There was a brief moment of contentment, which is really all you can hope for when you have 17 people gathered, six of whom are under the age of 10. That moment is documented with a mental picture and later dwelled upon late after the kids are all in bed, or after everyone has dispersed back to their hometowns. Sometimes it's discussed out loud, and other times it tumbles around quietly in the shadows of our brains, reminding us later on what we are grateful for and why we still continue to gather together.
I was not expecting to recognize that moment this year. I missed Lyra every second of this holiday and I was painfully aware that there was a grandchild who wasn't able to add to the laughter and chaos. But I'm glad I did see the glimmer of that moment around the table, and am thankful for all that it represents.