A year ago tonight, we probably had an ordinary dinner.
In our household, that means eating at around 9 pm, as my husband's work hours are unpredictable. Most of the time, we eat around the big table in the dining room and the conversation often wings fast and furious around the room. Like a game of doubles tennis with words and puns instead of tennis balls.
Or we may have decided to curl up on the sofa and pillows in the living room, perhaps eating on the coffee table and watching a movie or show together. Often that's Top Gear or a Doctor Who episode. There is something wonderful in having a quiet meal together with family, being able to talk with your teenage sons and know that each of us is invested and interested in the other's conversation.
I can't even tell you what we ate. It was an unremarkable, typical evening in our household. By that I mean comfortable, relaxed, cozy. We usually hang out a bit in the living room after dinner, curled up with the dogs. The boys probably finished up their homework. My older son likely was working on finishing his college applications.
There was nothing to suspect that in a few hours, we would be profoundly changed.
The fire that woke us out of a sound sleep in the early morning hours of December 1, 2010 left me shaken, vulnerable, and deeply, deeply grateful for the love and support in our lives.
I am grateful to be able to honor this anniversary. I am grateful that my family is well, that no one was injured in the fire. I am grateful that we were able to rebuild and return to our home. I am grateful to be able to put these words out into the ether, to share them with you.
So many people were there for us in our time of need. From the neighbors who put us up and fed us, to our local communities who donated warm clothes until we could salvage or replace some of ours, to writer friends who made sure I had books to read and notebooks to write in, to friends near and far who called or emailed with their love and best wishes.
The best way I feel I can honor their caring is to continue to pay it forward and to spend time each day to be grateful.
My deepest and most profound thanks to all of you.