Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Joys of Christmas

As my children have grown older, some of the traditional "magic" of Christmas has gone by the wayside. No more cookies left for Santa, fewer gifts that are surprises, more gifts that are chosen by them, and fewer craft projects. It has always made me a bit sad. Somehow I have always associated that special Christmas wonder with children: the twinkle in their eye as they wonder if the mall Santa is actually the real jolly old elf, their belief that reindeer really do fly, and the special joy that even the smallest toy can bring.

This year I was a bit more melancholy than normal. My son had hand-picked his big ticket item, a tablet for his use at college and he had even gone with me to hand select the traditional "clothes" items. He had lost quite a bit of weight this semester and we had to make sure that they fit him. My daughter had hand-picked her big ticket item too, a laptop computer and had been sitting right beside me when I ordered it on the computer. I really didn't expect Christmas morning to be as "special" as it used to be- but I was wrong.

When my son opened that box and actually got the tablet in his hand........

Well, you can see his smile. He was no less happy, even though he knew what was in the box.

As for my daughter, I did manage to spring a surprise or two on her. She loves sock monkeys and had seen some sock monkey pajamas at Target a few months back. I managed to find them for her and gave them to her Christmas Eve as her traditional "Christmas jammies". The big surprise came on Christmas morning though. I had been secretly working away for two days, crocheting a sock monkey for her. I finished it up at about 4 AM on Christmas morning. The smile on her face made the sleepless hours worth it!

In the end, I think I realized that the magic of Christmas could live in anyone's heart, regardless of age- even in the heart of this woman who is nearing the age of 50. Those little things that we do for each other, even when they are planned, that bright smile on the face of a loved one, a special moment shared together with family: that is the real magic of the holiday season. Just as Christ came to share God's love, it is our love for each other that makes that warm spot in our hearts.

As I watched my daughter dance around the living room to her "One Direction" cd, Keurig hot cocoa in hand, and bright smiling face I could never doubt that this was a truly wonderful Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sorry So Long....

It seems like literally AGES since I posted.
I have no excuse other than the typical "Life got in the way."

My father has been in poor health since sometime in October. He has been experiencing prostate swelling for years and has been on medication. A few weeks ago he began experiencing more prostate problems, along with some back and leg pain. The doctors diagnosed him with sciatica and began experimenting with various medications and treatments.

Nothing seemed to be working. Finally the doctors decided that it was time to just go ahead and do a procedure on the prostate. When they admitted him into the hospital and began the surgery they discovered that he had a complete blockage. This began an extended hospital stay, ending with the removal of the entire prostate.

Things were looking up and Dad thought that he would be coming home the next day, but it was not to be. He began vomiting extensively and they did x-rays to see if there was an internal problem. Once again they decided that he would need another procedure. They went in and placed a stint in the kidney to drain it.

FINALLY on Friday, December 21 they released Dad from the hospital. My sweet hubby and I went to pick him up and take him home. Dad is on several medications and is walking a bit carefully, but he is doing SO MUCH better! I thank the Lord that he provided Dad with some comfort and strength to get through this.

Dad is not one of those men who takes illness or being idle very well. He much prefers to be up and about, able to do whatever he decides he wants to do. At the age of 72, I am trying to convince him that it is time to slow down a bit and take a break, but I am not sure that he will listen. I am just grateful that he is still here with us to enjoy this Christmas season.