Where they have to take you in.
Where the heart is.
Where you will be for the holidays.
Where every Mama hopes she will safely gather her babies each year so she can stuff them full of food they will always remember being better than it ever actually was much to the chagrin of their future mates. Home is a touchstone for family. Home is a place in a mama's heart where she stands gentle and fierce for her babies. Some of those babies are near and some are gone, but all are fiercely and jealously loved.
As our family gathered for Thanksgiving this year, we missed several faces.
My youngest brother, Patrick, travels with the touring production of War Horse as the horse Joey, and was in Syracuse, NY. We missed him and hope that he found some warm hearth to settle next to for a few hours. Blessings on the house that welcomed him.
My Grandma who died last February taught two generations the importance of family and tradition with flour and potatoes. Each year we would gather around the warped and dented lefse maker and tell the stories that knit our family together. We have a home and we come from a place, and we remember both through Grandma's eyes. As for the lefse, we tried, but...we do miss you and your lefse
And our little Gwyneth. Our Gwyneth who will never share a meal at the table with us save Eucharist. We miss her too. We miss the joy of new life and tremble at the enormity of life without her place at the table. And yet, she has taught us about home and family too. She has knit us together with love and a glimpse of a more permanent home.
Why do we gather around the table? Because we need to remember what was, and then, embracing, go into what will be sure that we have a place.
And if you don't have a place at a table, we can find one for you too.