Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

Another Christmas behind us, Ladies. Time is flying by and in a short week it will be 2012. I wonder what it will hold for us. I am happy to be finished with this year, a year of change and heartache and fear. Each January 1 brings hope for peace, prosperity and good health, travel, excitement and contentment. My sister was born on Jan. 1, 1951. I always thought that was such a cool birthday to have, of course you have to consider that it is so close to Christmas the gifts might be a little lacking. For a few years, Mom and Dad gave her gifts on my birthday, June 25, exactly 6 months from Christmas. And I would get something on Jan. 1 also. Usually pajamas as I remember.  As a kid, I loved New Years and made long lists of resolutions; to read all the books in our library, to get all As in school, to become a nun, to become Catholic so I could become a nun ( this was either the year I read A Nun's Story or the year Mom told us she should have become a nun), to become a better daughter (you know when this was). As I grew older, my lists got shorter and more centered on losing weight, growing my hair long, getting contacts to replace the glasses I'd worn since I was 7. I still am a list maker, just not New Years resolutions so much. No, my lists now say, " Dr. appt. Wednesday, treatment 9:00 Monday, stop for gas, pick up prescriptions, get chicken soup and 7-Up."  The day-to-day simple things take priority over long term goals now.    
All through Stephen King's illness I have felt distanced, as if I am watching from somewhere else. Christmas has been this way for me too. Last night, Christmas Eve, we were at our niece's home with all my side of our family. I knew Steve wouldn't feel up to staying too long, but I wanted to visit with everyone for a few minutes. Yet instead of traveling the room speaking with each of them, I sat beside my husband and watched. I watched the ladies gather around the baby, cooing and kissing his sweet fat cheeks, watched the cousins laugh and tease each other as if they were small kids again instead of grown adults. Watched as the grandchildren thanked my Mom for her gift to them, some hugging her frail shoulders, others kissing her wrinkled cheek. I watched as each of them spoke to Steve, shocked by his weight loss, by the quiet voice, by the shaky hands. And I couldn't feel a part of it, not really, I was behind my wall. This afternoon our kids came for Christmas. We did a simple homemade soup and sandwich affair for the first time ever. Steve cannot tolerate big meals after treatment so we will hold off til New Years for our big dinner.  Our little ones were too excited to eat much, Caleb even helped clear the table to hurry the process. For an hour the paper and ribbons flew, ohhs and ahhhs accompanied each gift making its appearance. A Lego watch was Gavin's "best gift ever" and the snowboots were Cabe's. Maddie was shocked by the box of BBs then thrilled with the Pink Daisy rifle! The big girls loved the new handbags and IU sweats. The Christmas stockings were, as always, the treat of the evening, filled with wacky treasures and silly tokens. The sons and wives approved of their presents, though neither pair of boots fit our bigfoots. Nina giggled over her "philosophy" skin products and Shawn squealed with joy at her Kuerig coffee thingy. Stephen King proudly showed me the hatchet our son had crafted and the UnderArmor jacket, " just like the boys have". 
 And I loved it all, I was happy with the day and my own gifts, but I didn't feel here. I grabbed the little ones a million times holding them close to hear their heart beats, to feel their soft skin, just to prove I was here.  My coping skill seems to be working too well.
I hope each of you had a joyous Christmas and that you all enjoy each second of your break. Love you all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Oh My Goodness

Courtney left last Friday, traveling back to her life in Oz. We want her to go. We want her to stay. She has been a blessing these 5 weeks, standing beside us through it all. But she has her life with Ken in Australia and just as our boys cannot leave their jobs and hold our hands, neither can Court leave her home. We are proud of our children and their compassion, faithfulness and generousity. Knowing this about your offspring makes a parent happy.
Mackenzie will receive her mother's kidney after the first of the year. Shawn is a near perfect match for Mack. Her long trial will soon be over. We can't wait for her to feel better, feel normal, feel healthy. She is even looking into colleges that require a move from home. Mack has always been a homebody, wanting family around her even on vacations. The idea of leaving home for school would send her into panic mode. She is a complex young woman, so intelligent, easy going on the surface but panicky underneath, and faithful to a Lord she loves. Since they have found that Shawn is a match and the transplant will be done, Mack has shown an unusual rebellion toward her meds and treatments. For 8 years she has been responsible for keeping up with all her meds and diet and now that it is almost over she forgets to take them or doesn't do her breathing treatment. "Screw it", she said tonight to her Mom's inquiry. What is she thinking?? Actually, it is good to see some normal teenage rebellion in our near perfect girl.
Stephen King is having a good weekend after a sickly week with bronchitis. He got up and out early this morning just like the old Saturday routine; off to visit a sister or two, a son or two. Taking Caleb down to farm to meet Pete, our new Great Pyrenes puppy. He is for the sheep, a guard against coyotes and Big Foot. Yes Ladies, the big guy has been spotted in Paoli. There is an expert from Missouri investigating the area as I write this. Front page news in the local paper, so much more interesting than the five drug busts last week. Love, love, love our home town.
Treatment 3 comes on Wednesday. We are praying it is without lingering effects for Christmas activities. He isn't much of a Christmas fan to begin with and we aren't ready for Papaw on steroids for the Holidays. The Grinch lives in his heart, well, not just his, his 5 sisters don't care for it either. I have been puzzling this for 45 years and still have no answer. They all attest to wonderful Christmas times as children. They just don't get it as adults, I suppose. Stephen King has learned I will not be influenced by his scrooginess. I love Christmas, the story of our Savior's birth and the commercial side, too. I hate shopping but like to buy gifts. (I know). I love finding just the right gift for everyone on my list. This year is somewhat different; gifts are here, but tree isn't decorated yet and only partially finished with wrapping. But I have sugar cookies cooling, waiting to be iced and hot cinnamon candy waiting to be cracked into pieces. A few Santas from my large collection are on display and a red Scentsy light in the kitchen. Not a total wash out, but a little cheer. I'm looking forward to hearing our daughter-in-law sing "Mary, Did You Know" on Christmas morning, voice like a bell. Makes my eyes tear up and my heart swell.
Mom has been released from care by the orthopedic doc and the physical therapist, she is just having difficulty remembering that she can use her arm now. Deb has taken care of her Christmas cookies and fudge. Mom insists she has to have them for Christmas Eve with the family. Once again we will all gather at our niece Stori's for our celebration. The King's missed it last year since Mack and Maddie were in Riley, so we are really excited about it. Stori and Jamey have 5 kiddos, 3 natural and 2 adopted. The boys Ian 2 and Chad 4 are from the Congo and are so beautiful. Liv, Parker and baby Owen are the the other beautifuls. Liv is the oldest and only girl, which she loves, Parker is 10 and is the smartest kid I know. He has the mind of a scientist and the curiosity of a boy, a regular Indian Jones, I say. Owen is just 6 months old, he was a surprise baby. They were considering adopting from the Congo again when Owen showed up. Sweetest, happiest gift from God. I love our family Christmas Eve, so many memories shared here and so many little guys I don't get to see as often as I'd like. Jamey and Stori bless us with their open home.
I have pink eye this morning, an unexpected gift from some unknown benefactor. Antibiotic drops will have me seeing by midweek, I hope, there is alot more to do round here than wear sunglasses and spray Lysol. Life is a party here in the Valley. Take care, Ladies. talk to me.