This story was written by my daughter, Shanna. I am proud of her first writing and want to share it with all my friends.
Deep in thought, the man stood on his porch looking out over the moonlit snow-covered yard before him.
"Daddy, what are you doing out here in the cold?"
Slightly startled he turns to see his 6 year old daughter looking up at him with curious eyes.
Bending to meet her eyes and tapping her on the nose he says, "The question, young lady, is what are you doing out here without your coat?"
With a sheepish grin she shrugs, "you first! I asked you first!"
Unable to resist her adorable logic he scoops her up and says frankly, "I am counting my blessings. It is Thanksgiving afterall"
"Oh." she says, thinking for a moment. "How many?"
The man chuckles, giving her a gentle squeeze "I am holding one in my arms right now."
Pointing to the night sky he continues, "but for as many stars as are in the sky I am blessed even more. I could not count them all there's so many. For starters, though, I am truly thankful for your mother and you. And I'm very honored that I am able to provide for you and am truly blessed to have such a close family."
She smiles, with a flash of understanding one wouldn't expect to see on a 6 year old's face.
"What are you thankful for?" he asks, gently tugging on her pigtails.
"Well…" she pauses to think, "you and mommy…" she trails off with a yawn. "And…"
Smiling, he pulls her closer deciding that it's time to go inside.
As he turns to go in the house, she pipes up, "Oh, I know!", tightening her arms around his neck, "my daddy's big strong arms!"
Years later the little girl, now grown, looks out over the same moonlit snow-covered yard counting her blessing as she had every year since she was six years old.
"Honey, what are you doing out here in the cold?"
She turns to her newlywed realizing this is their first Thanksgiving together. "I'm counting my blessings. It's a tradition my daddy passed on to me. Every year we'd come out here on Thanksgiving night and count a blessing for each star." She smiles, remembering, "needless to say we could never count them all."
Touched, he says "that is one tradition I would love to join in on. I am so thankful I found you, Honey. You keep me alive in a very cold world." Tilting her chin to look into her eyes, "I don't want to ever lose sight of this particular star."
Taking his hand she smiles up at him and he scoops her up into his arms.
On their way inside she tightens her arms around his neck, whispering, "I'm so thankful for my husband's big strong arms."
More time passed and the couple grew golden together. Their children had long since grown and moved into their own lives. Once again the couple sits on the porch, hand in hand, counting their stars and blessing as they had done so many Thanksgiving nights before.
"I'm thankful for each and every wonderful day we have spent together, Honey." says her husband quietly. "You have made this cold world a warm place when I am near you."
She smiles, squeezing his hand, "You've always known just what to say and so beautifully too. You've taken care of me and patiently loved me through all of our ups and downs. You are the brightest star in my sky."
"Those words never get old." he says, scooping her out of her wheelchair into his arms just as he had done every night since they were married.
As he turned to carry her inside to bed she says "neither do those big strong arms."