Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Gratitude

If you've opened your presents (and been showered with appliances or other items you didn't particularly want that will wind up in a drawer, abandoned); if you've slaved over a Christmas dinner and your children have said with disdain, "We want Kraft Dinner;" if you've eaten yourself into a sugar-induced coma and your control-top panties are feeling snugger than usual, you can join the ranks of the mildly to massively discontent women.  There are many disconsolate women who populate the planet after the Christmas wrapping has been shoved into old Toys r Us bags and the children have expressed their doubts in the existence of Santa when they've received socks and warm jackets, but NOT the prohibitively expensive and sold-out electronic items they expressly asked for in their demanding, poorly punctuated letters to Kris Kringle that their teachers made them write but never bothered to workshop for mechanics or courteous language.  The aroma of disappointment lingers in the air along with the turkey carcass gelling into a week's worth of soup, the fatty remnants of flesh pooling on top of the murky water.

Truth be told, Christmas can be a disappointment to many: all the build-up, packed-on poundage, small talk swill at the many obligatory holiday parties, the ever-present, demanding children who never leave home (Dammit, why CAN'T there be school during the holidays?), the husbands who, now home, start treating your home like THEIR castle, as if they ever lifted a finger to help.  And the pressures of the extended family descending in all their expectant, demanding glory, and you trying to exude the picture-perfect, happy housewife image that has no bearing in reality along with a cast of characters who refuse to play along with your charade, continuing to moan, and spill and not put the toilet seat down and curse and pinch and blame YOU for everything that isn't exactly to their liking.

It's not GOOD HOUSEKEEPING or MARTHA STEWART, that's for sure.  (Though I can't imagine feeling a whole lot of warmth in Martha Stewart's house; that being said, her decadent baking would probably make up for the tension.  We made her porcini mushroom, gruyere cheese nut loaf for we vegetarians at our Christmas party to great accolade.)

What I'm trying to say is WHO among us HASN'T been disappointed with this hyped-up season at one time or another?  I know I've shed my fair share of tears during the holiday season and wished I was anywhere but here more than once in my life, but not this year.

You see, I had a rather dramatic surgery not two weeks ago, and I am now reigning queen of the living room, aperch our bed, nestled in an alcove with the Christmas tree glowing in front of it.  I've been able to issue my commands from on high (or in-bed) with surprising alacrity, and when I ring my buzzer, I have semi-willing servants (children and husband and in-valuable helper) ambling to my assistance.

As a result of my drug-induced inertia, and generally lowered expectations having just come from a week in a hospital where now everything seems like a slice of heaven, I am living in a state of gratitude despite a dearth of Christmas cookies, not enough Christmas music, candles or confections for my liking.  There is none of the hastily assembled decorum and adherence to tradition that I try institute at least once a year to honor the season and memories of my past.

Trying brushing your teeth or eating a meal in prone position.  Not pretty.

Well, the traditions have gone to hell-in-a-hand-basket as I snooze and snack in bed, leaving enough crumbs and popcorn to feel a small village in my wake.  I shopped for gifts before the surgery and what got done is what was given.  Some gifts have not arrived, and nobody seemed to miss them.  The gift wrapping was even shoddier than usual owing to the fact that I forgot to buy new wrapping paper and we had to settle for crumpled, recycled old paper, some with birthday messages, and newspapers.  Even so, our children failed to question the validity of Santa Claus or why his army of elves so poorly cut the paper and used tape like they were wrapping a mummy rather than a Christmas gift.  (I blame the mulled wine.)

Long story short, I feel gratitude.  A lot of it.  This year, my gratitude my take a different form than yours, but I encourage you to reach for all the goodness in life, cling onto it like a life raft, and float through this season focusing on what is good in the here and now.  Don't think about what you wish for.  You don't have it.  (Save that for your new year's resolutions.)  Don't think about what you used to have.  It's gone.  What's good now?  (And if all you can think of is that you aren't reduced to ashes and living in an urn, grasp onto that.)  I'm bargaining there is more, though.

For me?  I'm thankful:
  • For great big bed smack dab in the center of our living room universe on which to recline and reign.  I feel like Grandpa Joe and Grandma Josephine in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, only with a whole lot more youth and food selection.)
A view from the almighty bed.  (Those are  my feet)

  • For Skype so I can talk to my friends and family from bed (even though the angle isn't flattering), and I can keep tabs on what is going on outside of my limited universe.
Keeping in touch with my sister, Coly.

  • For my newly limited universe.  Right now I just need to focus on me and getting better.  Everybody needs to take care of me.  Yes, it's humbling, but it's also magnificent.  My mind isn't reeling with endless lists of what I need to accomplish.  And guess what?  Everything is getting done!  The world is going on in spite of my reprieve.  Go figure.  Good lesson.

Serenity Now

  • For sharing Christmas with our best friends in the world, and with no pressure or expectations other than good food and lots of fun!

  • That my back brace gives me great cleavage and that I don't have to carry everything in my bosom now that my sweetheart has adhered a pouch to my walker.

These days, I HAVE to have a new start every day.  It starts with the view from my bed in the living room, looking at the Christmas tree.  I like what I see.  I'm healing.  I'm loving my family and friends.  I'm excited to get out of my anti-embolism support hose soon and to be able to shower myself.  Every day, I get a little more independent.  Every day I can do a bit more.  Every day I see that every act of kindness and grace (from myself and others) is what propels me to my walker each morning and enables me to take those small, baby steps in the direction of a happiness that reigns in spite of circumstances.  

Living step by step, moment by moment is the magic key I am using to find peace and happiness in this crazy season of my life.

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