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.