Christmas Eve

Sleep has not come so easily for me the past few days, so I am the first one awake this Christmas Eve morning.  Well, me and Sylvie.  She has an uncanny ability to hear any sort of movement anywhere in the house and she thinks this is her call to come to the kitchen and ask for food...

Thank goodness for Netflix and HGTV.  They have been my constant companion in the sleepless hours these past few nights.  I'm hopeful that today is a better day.

Yesterday felt like a step backwards.  I think the exhaustion, weaning off the pain meds and the whole surgical procedure finally caught up with me.  Low hemoglobin combined with taking narcotics has not been a great recipe for me.  I might have had a mini-meltdown last night. I'm resigned to the fact that you're probably not going to win mother of the year when the 13 year-old has to tell you it's ok if you skip Christmas.  Thank goodness there was one adult in the room...

Miss Erin has been a trooper.  So has Dan.  I am not a great patient - I sort of want to do everything for myself - and he, ahem, doesn't love playing nurse.  I hate to generalize, but I've done a small straw poll, and the truth is, guys suck at taking care of their sick wives.  The world just functions much better when the roles are reversed.  Dan has been doing it all, though - cooking, cleaning, laundry - and we've managed to laugh a few times at how out-of-balance we all feel when things don't go according to the master plan.

Ah, perspective though.  All things considered, we are doing all right and we are lucky to be where we are this Christmas.  Yesterday's obits in the Rochester paper were sobering reminder of that.  Three people who I knew in my life passed away this week:  the father of a dear high school friend, another acquaintance whom I worked with and occasionally played tennis with, and a high school English teacher of mine.

Each of them dealt with cancer as part of their life's journey.  I have fond memories of these people and the different times in my life that they represent.  Wendy's dad was a bus driver who often drove the basketball bus in my high school years.  Bob was a good guy and a fun tennis opponent when I picked the game up again after taking a few years off to become a mom.  And Mr. Sollien introduced me musical theater.

We read Shakespeare in his class and then watched "modern" adaptations.  Taming of the Shrew led to Kiss Me, Kate and Romeo and Juliet brought us to West Side Story.  One look at the Sharks and the Jets singing and dancing their feelings, and I was hooked.  West Side Story is still my favorite.

I know those families each wake up today to a first.  The first Christmas without a piece of them.  My heart aches for them.

We are doing this "Christmas without" thing for the third time now.  Does it get easier?  Not really.  We still miss Shannon every day and the holidays only bring that into sharp relief.

But time does soften the corners a bit.  We have more life without her now to reminisce about.  I don't know if that's a good thing, but it's the truth.  We find ourselves moving right along, watching Erin grow, getting on with the act of living our lives.  It doesn't hurt to stop and remember from time to time...

I'll be thinking of those families and their firsts, hoping for strength and peace for each of them on this journey.

I'll be remembering Shannon, and another Christmas she missed.

I'll be hoping that my family can nurse me along for another couple of days and that I start to feel like myself again.

I'll be crossing my fingers that Erin still feels the magic of Christmas like a 13 year-old should.

Hold those you cherish close in your heart today, tomorrow and always.

Merry Christmas, everyone.