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Friday, November 25, 2011

thank you

Dear FH,

(Who will just have to live with the fact that we're spending all major holidays with my side of the family.  Because they're awesome).

1200 people walked into our restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  And I served eighty of them. 

I'm still in recovery mode.

Thanksgiving is an all-hands-on-deck kind of day.  All of our staff - no exceptions - gather together to serve what seems like all of Virginia Beach.  The restaurant was flooded with so many people, they were merely a sea of faces, strong perfume, big jewelry  (and even bigger hair).

Busy days like that, when my section is filled to the brim, it seems like one wrong move could produce a domino effect of rather catastrophic catastrophes.  Here is when the people I serve are nothing more than a table number, a beverage order, and a dollar amount of gratuity when they depart.  I go, grab, place, serve, clean, pour in a completely feigned natural-looking robot mode.


One lady in a large black and white polka dot sweater in the corner touches my hand as I place a glass of fragrant merlot on her table.  I stopped dead in my tracks.  What was she stopping me for?

"Thank you for spending your Thanksgiving serving us," the lady says to me.  Her eyes are as full of sincerity as my portion of the restaurant is filled with buzzing people.

A lump of sadness blindsided me as it jumped very quickly into my throat.

Season number two of spending the holidays without my family.  I had told myself this year that I wouldn't pout, and that I wouldn't be sad.  That I would be very grown up about my situation this year (a.k.a. not like last year).  Plus, my family will always be here to celebrate on a day that works for all of us.

We don't let days of the year dictate when we can have a party, you know?  We're party people.

But in that moment, knowing that my sacrifice - however little it is in comparison to those who serve in the armed forces and risk their lives - meant something special to someone else.

And you know, FH?  It made me thankful.  Suddenly, it didn't matter that I wouldn't see my family on this particular day.  It didn't matter that I was working until my ankles were so weak that I can barely walk today.  I was overwhelmed, standing in front of this woman in a polka dot sweater fighting back tears as I told her,

"It's my pleasure to serve you all."

And you know what?  It wasn't even a lie.

This part of my life, FH, this place that I'm in where I have no idea who you are, if I've already met you, or if I'm lightyears away of maturation before I'm ready to even think about the "m" word ("m" as in marriage), has been quite pleasurable.

I spent the rest of the evening, after I cleaned up and hung my green tie in the closet for the next day of serving, with good friends, strong drinks and homemade turkey.

It's okay that I don't know who you are, or that I'm out here doing this whole independent lady thing.

I'm truly thankful for the season I'm in.  I'm thankful I don't know who you are yet.  And I'm thankful that I'm experiencing these adventures on my own.  I'm thankful that I'm (hopefully) becoming a stronger person outside of a relationship with you.  And I'm thankful that God has perfect timing, and that when when we finally do come together, there will be no shadow or trace of any doubt in my mind whatsoever.

I'm thankful I have a family so valuable and precious to me that I do miss them.

And I hope my prayers and thoughts displayed here are as sincere and earnest as that polka-dotted lady's words when she first thanked me.

And I'm also thankful that I have a husband who will understand how important it is that I spend the holidays with my family, since I spent so many of them serving food to strangers.

I hope.

One day.



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