Kicking off Thanksgiving week

19 November 2017

Kicking off Thanksgiving week

It all started with the simple question from Godfrey, my middle-born Ugandan grandson: “What are we doing for Family Day?”

Which got his parents thinking and planning, which prompted a FaceTime call Friday afternoon: We’re at the park. Releasing balloons to Grandpa.  


Photo: Pixabay


Godfrey was actually referring to National Adoption Day, which was November 17 last year — the day he and his two brothers were officially adopted into SIL Josh and Daughter Summer’s family as siblings #4, 5, and 6.

And so to celebrate “Family Day,” the plan was to go out to dinner—which doesn’t happen frequently when you multiply the dinner tab times eight people in the family—and eat chocolate cupcakes in Grandpa’s honor. (Grandpa was a chocoholic.)

But first, a visit to the park and a FaceTime phone call so I could view the releasing of helium balloons as each grandchild said whatever they wanted to say to their grandfather had he been present.

There were words spoken of missing him, of missing his teasing, of wishing they could have met him (this from one of the Ugandan-born grandsons). There was the teasing reminder from the oldest grandson that his team, the Seattle Seahawks, beat grandpa’s team, the Denver Broncos, the last time they met in the Super Bowl.

When it was William’s turn, the youngest of the six kids, he released his balloon and said: “I can’t wait to play with him up there,” because seven-year-old William is all about playing.

William couldn’t have known this, but his grandfather was famous for collaborating with his own children, and then later with his grandchildren, in spreading the entire collection of Legos on the living room carpet, and getting down on the floor to help build walloping creations out of these colorful, snap-together blocks.

Ironically, my three Ugandan-born grandsons love building with Legos. I mean, love building with Legos.

Although one could argue the genetics point, surely it must be something in the genes that skipped a generation and picked back up with both biological and adopted grands. Is that solid science? 



November 17—the day my three Ugandan-born grandsons took on Josh and Summer’s last name—was also the day, three years ago, my husband, Gary, left this earth for his heavenly home.

I love the paradox here: The family lost an irreplaceable husband/ dad/ grandpa/ brother/ uncle … and gained three boisterous, gleeful, precious grandsons/ sons/ siblings/ cousins/ nephews.

And I love that Josh and Summer combined the celebration of “Family Day” with remembering a life well lived — their dad’s.

On this first day of Thanksgiving week, feeling blessed, grateful, wealthy beyond description.


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About Me

Hello, my name is Marlys Johnson. I’m a cancer widow, author, speaker and blogger. I love getting outdoors; would rather lace up hiking boots than go shopping. I have a passion for repurposing old junk into cool new stuff. And an even greater passion for showing people how to navigate life’s challenges. Tenaciously. And with heart wide open.

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