Saturday Night we watched a movie with the boys called Flyboys, about American pilots flying for the French in WWI. It mostly focused on the flying, but there were moments that showed the devastation of war, the displaced families, the star-crossed lovers and the heartbreak of it. The boys missed most of that, but it clung to me as I was picking tomatoes on Sunday for a full day of canning.
I kept getting teary-eyed with gratitude while I was out there crouched down between rows of tomato plants, pulling up crazy over-grown branches to find the lush, enormous, bright red Romas underneath.
Scott and I worked in the kitchen from after breakfast until right before a late dinner canning 75 lbs of tomatoes. My fingers were green from picking them (the vines will make your fingers smell deliciously of fresh tomatoes, but also make them green.)
We made spaghetti sauce, tomato soup (yum for cold nights), chili base and some lovely chunky salsa. We looked at our efforts afterwards and realized we’d just made a month of meals in one one day.
We listened to the Blues Station on Pandora while we were working, which may account for how melancholy I kept getting while slicing tomatoes. What do people do who have to leave everything and carry only what they can carry on their backs or what will fit in a wagon pulled behind a mule, and walk away from everything they have or know because war is tearing up their home? How do they pack enough to provide for themselves for even a little while?
What would I do if circumstances forced me to make terrible choices between the ones I love and safety or life itself?
And then, because my heart cannot take that kind of sadness or grief for long, I started thinking about how tremendously grateful I am that when Scott fell in love with me, we were not separated by language, a war, then lost from one another in the aftermath of war, or trying to find one another forever after. We very quickly knew that our hearts and lives belonged together, had found a home in one another, and married after knowing each other for only 2 months. We have just celebrated 9 years together. We have built a business, sold a business, moved to the country, and are learning to farm and garden together. We have raised 2 boys and are raising the second set of 2 boys together. We live every day lucky to be together, and I don’t ever forget it, because remembering the gratitude keeps me so joyful about our lives together.
He knows where my heart will go after watching a movie like that, and understood that a part of me was stranded in Paris all day. He just kept hugging me throughout day, helping me remember that we are here and now, we are together, we found each other and never let go, and I cannot stop loving that comforting thought. Gratitude becomes my warm embrace.