Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Lights of Christmas!

Strangely enough, or maybe sadly enough is more appropriate, this is the year that I have no out of control Christmas-decorating stories to tell, no near deaths, no head-lock wrestling over what goes where, and no arguing about just how much is too much lighting before it becomes tacky. As I’ve already said, I’ve been sick since the week of Thanksgiving, and I swear I’m not trying to play it for all its worth, but it is STILL going on! I really do feel much better, but I’m still coughing and my voice is still pretty sketchy; it comes and goes as each day wears on. 

We always put up our decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving, I was dead in the middle of near death at that point and can honestly tell you, I could have cared less. But my husband, being the sweet man he can be, decided he and my youngest son would put up the inside decorations for me, instead of me, and I would just watch. Well, believe it or not, that’s exactly how it went; I sat in my recliner and grunted the instructions when asked, and it all got put up just as pretty as always, without me lifting a finger.

We didn’t however put up the outside lights and I honestly didn’t think we even would. My husband worked out of town the two weeks after Thanksgiving weekend and there just wasn’t enough time. At first it bothered me, we have always put up some form of outside lights, every single year that I have had children at home. But you know, things change, kids grow up, the only child left at home now is grown and rarely here enough to count, and we’re older ourselves; so when does it no longer seem important enough to do it anymore?

I’ve heard people for years talking about down-sizing their trees and decorations. Putting up those table-top trees, or in some cases none at all. I could foresee maybe a smaller tree in our future, but no tree at all? The weekend that my guys took over the decorating, even as bad as I felt, it seemed to make me feel better to see it all lit up and done. Having nothing to look at for the whole month of December, well I don’t even know how that could ever feel like Christmas. The trees, lights and decorations are not just for children, they’re for all of us. Trees loaded down with decorations that have either been made by your children or bought in special places at special times, all with meaning and love.

Yesterday I spent the day with one of my best girlfriends from home and we finished up the last of our Christmas shopping together. I had a wonderful time, but when I got home, I had another wonderful surprise. My husband and son had strung lights-up on the outside of our home; my Christmas will be complete after all and I wish the same Merry Christmas joy to each of you. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Sanity of Cyber-Shopping

So have you all done all your Christmas shopping yet? Have you been pushed, trampled and pinched-up in corners? Have your toes been crushed, rib cages elbowed, and your heels permanently dented from over-aggressive cart-pushers? Did you tussle at the undergarment table for the last reindeer antlers thong?  Or tie-up with a mom who looks like she’s ready to duke it out over the last Warriors from Hell XBOX game left on the shelf?

Let me tell you folks something, you don’t know just how close you can come to personal injury of another human being until you have a child and you’re Christmas shopping. Every single solitary year there is a new “end all to be all” doll, toy, or game that everybody in the ENTIRE universe is trying to purchase for their child. He/she has seen it advertised, everybody is talking about, everybody else is going to get one, “they just know it”; and by golly, it is your job to find it! Well, actually its Santa’s job, but we all know Mama’s and Daddy’s are assigned Santa’s dirty detail work. If we want him to deliver all those goodies on time, WE have to find them for him. He has the easy job; he simply waltzes in, delivers the goods and he’s the hero of the night!

But it is US, the parents, who have to risk life and limb, stand in line for 3 hours, only to have just one game left by the time it’s almost your turn. It’s down to you and the lady in front of you who looks sleep deprived and angry, and you’re trying to size her up as to whether or not you can take her down in a moment of weakness, put her in a head lock, and grab that game and RUN!

But you don’t because we are a civilized people aren’t we? Well, let me be honest and say, I thought I was until one of those years, and one of those had to have items, and there were not but two left IN THE WORLD. I was standing in Toys R Us, the place where all evil is born on such shopping days, and it was down to me and one other lady. The employee said there was two left, he went to the back to get them for us. By the time he got back there were three of us (crazy Mama’s) standing there, and he only had two games. Needless to say it got a little cray-cray, my husband looked like he was considering running himself and leaving me there, but I didn’t back down. The third woman said she had called and they were supposed to have one on hold for her. I politely told her, since the terrified clerk couldn’t speak, that there is no such thing as “on hold” at Christmas; its retail war baby and you’re running a little late.

I cyber-shop now, but I’ll reserve some bail money in case the rest of you don’t make it out alive! 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Lost Week

It’s been a tough past couple of weeks for me. I don’t get sick very often, but man oh man, when I do, I do it up right. It started a few days before Thanksgiving, but my kids were both home, my folks were coming down for Thanksgiving dinner, so I guess I just willed the worst of it away for as long as I could.

The following Saturday it all started to fall apart and here I am a week and a day later, still not out of the woods. I’m still weak, can’t talk, and just feel generally not quite together. This past week was especially hard on me, as my husband was working out of town for the biggest part of it, which meant I was basically alone.

I was single/divorced for about thirteen years, so it’s not like I didn’t experience being sick and alone at some point and time. But when you’re young, you don’t tend to think about just how sick you are in conjunction with how alone you are, how unsupervised you are, or the lack of the presence of a necessary adult should you need help. You’re invincible, and no matter how weak, unsteady, or unstable you feel, every recovery is just around the corner.

Let me tell you, age and those same circumstances make a world of difference. There were several days this week I basically have no memory of, whether it was from all the combined medications or just the sickness itself taking hold. I wasn’t eating, (so you all know I was near death) which was doing nothing but making me weaker, and I can faintly remember on one of the worst days, wondering how long it had been since I showered and washed my hair.

I finally decided it had been too long, and as bad as I felt, and probably looked, there was no way if I needed one, that I would have called an ambulance to myself.  You should see this nappy, curly hair after three days of wallowing it in a pillow; it’s a sight to behold let me tell you. So I showered, and about half-way through I started to feel weird and lightheaded. I was mid-shampoo so I knew I had to finish and I still had to condition my hair or I would look like Ronald McDonald. All I could do in that last five (or fifty it seemed) minutes or so was to pray that I wouldn’t faint or fall, so that the first person to find me would be my nearly twenty year old son. Sweet heavens above, that would scar him for life, and I do want him to get married someday. If he were to think that’s how it all turns out, well, I’m just not sure there’s enough therapy in the world.

A special thanks to God for my wonderful parents who checked on me daily with offers to come and help as well. Their words were like a warm blanket around my heart, and a comfort that’s undeniable; I am blessed. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Amazing Grace

As we enter the holiday season, I think we all have secret romantic visions of how we’d like it to be. Most have watched those Hallmark holiday movies that end in happily ever after; all the families are large, they all come to one central place to celebrate in a time of joy, snow-filled dreams, sugar plums and never ending mistletoe.

Well the reality for most of us is, some of us can get off of work for those weeks and some cannot. Either way, the rush is on to begin preparing the food, keeping our house clean for company, trying to plan your menu so that every person with their particular food needs is satisfied and will have plenty to eat. Coordinate with people out of town, who is coming in what day, will there be “room at the inn” and will all of these “grown” personalities be able to get along for the time it takes to be social, eat, and disperse.

This year I was one of the lucky ones that was able to be off work most of the week. I had several days in advance to begin the prep work that a big meal like that requires. Both of my sons were home with me and we all actually work very well together. We are all good at different things in the kitchen, so as we began the busy-work, all in opposite directions, the ebb and flow went remarkably smooth.

My parents came down the actual day of Thanksgiving as they have for the past few years now and we were ready. My youngest son had fried the turkey earlier that morning, and my oldest son and I prepared all the “inside” food. Most everything went off without a hitch; however, I swear to sugar, if I ever get the right concoction to the making of the dressing down right, I think it will be a miracle. I call myself following the written directions to the letter every single time, but somehow, some way, it just never lives up to my mother’s dressing and I don’t really have much confidence that it ever will.

But let me just back-up for a minute and take you all back to the beginning of our meal. Everyone had lined-up, and holding their plates, they walked around the bar and the stove where all the food was spread out ready to be dipped and served. Plates were filled to the rim and now sitting on mats at the dining room table, and everyone took a seat; everyone but my youngest son.

As he stood behind his chair, he asked us to lower our heads as he was about to bless our food. I wish I could repeat it back for you today or at least explain how amazing he is at delivering such a resounding grace full of reverence and reality, with every day words. It’s those times in life that bring the real thanks and blessings for our journey and those we brought with us. Grateful, yes I am.