Saturday, December 26, 2015


December is such an interesting paradox. We run around finishing buying gifts for people we love, all while filling our cart with things we are also supposed to buy out of commitment. We make plans with family and friends and then stress out when those days come and we are expected to be somewhere at a specific time. We cannot wait until its christmas break and school is out and we can be on no schedule, but then we have no schedule and whole days are spent watching TV or, conversely, running around town finishing errands all day and coming home and having no time left for the fun you thought you were going to have. 

This was the first christmas since 2011 that we weren't medically stressed. 2012 we had just gotten home from Reese's second resection and knew that the next chemo we'd start in Jan 2013 *had* to work. We had heard Dec 2012 that if Reese didn't have that surgery "she'd maybe have 2 months..."

December 2013 hit us with some sort of brain infection. Infectious disease called it meningitis, even though R never tested positive. I think it is written down as encephalitis, as well.  We got home on the 23rd, gave birth to Corbin on the 26th, and each day for 2 weeks was filled with 24 hour port antibiotics. 

2014 was strange. Reese had been off treatment since the April prior, and we had an MRI on Dec 15. That MRI told us that her tumor had grown and we'd be starting chemo again in Jan. There was just a cloud that hung over everything. 

Having a medically sensitive child - a child whose life seems to hang in the balance of the next scan or test or anything.... holidays are stressful. There is a huge weight on my shoulders of doing everything perfectly because "what if...". Inevitably that is not how things go. Perfect plans do not pan out the way you think they will - and that is because that's how life is. Every day is full of surprises that kick plans to the curb, but still, most moves that I make require me to decide if this is what I would want to do if something terrible was to happen. 

Depressing, right?

But it is not, it is just slightly meticulous. At this point, all of this planning and failing and breathing and reacting and hoping and letting go is a cycle of normalcy for me. I have a tiny badge of appreciation for the holidays and everything that comes with it - because I am honored to have even the stressful moments with this crew of crazy. 

The messes in the living room, the make up stained lips and raccoon eye shadowed lids, the crying about being bored, and the begging to not come inside off of the trampoline, it all balances out when Miller says to me "lets have mom and Miller cuddle time" or when Reese says "can I ask you my question?" and it isn't a question, but she is telling me again, for the 37th time that day, that she loves me. It is worth it when Corbin tries to hang on me all of the daylight hours because, when she goes to bed, I am grateful that she still wants to hang on me. I feel like I can breathe when Sawyer still asks for a hug and a kiss before she goes to sleep - no matter how angry or what kind of fit she had minutes earlier. And, of course, when my freshly turned 9 year old still wants me to crawl into her bed to talk about the day - it can be a whole story of 3rd grade drama or telling me jokes that she read. 

December reminds me that it is okay

I tried, desperately, to remind myself that all is okay when Miller woke me up at 4:30am with a princess sofia dress that was previously wrapped and under the tree. She was thrilled to have it, of course, even though it was 4 hours earlier than I had hoped she would receive it. Sawyer had gone down to open a third of her gifts at 4am and then rounded up Miller and Reese to come down and do some of the same. Is it funny, now? yes. Was it funny, then? no. I was heartbroken, honestly. I went out at 9:30pm on Christmas eve to get a few final items and I didn't even get to see some of the overjoyed faces that I had hoped for. But it was done and to them, it was sneaky and magical. So I had to breathe, grit my teeth, and remember that every well thought out plan can capsize at any time. But, hey, it didn't ruin Christmas morning in the least. 

It has been in the 70's lately and so we have spent a lot of time outside. Christmas was no different. The kids opened presents with just us, then played outside and with their toys all morning, until the rest of the family arrived for the second round of the day. We ate delicious snacks and didn't stress about a big lunch/dinner that no one would have room for. We went to the park in the late afternoon and play with friends and went to bed as early as our tired bodies would let us. 

I want to spend the next week with EJ here doing things around the house - organizing, purging, getting ready for 2016. Of course these are the same resolutions that everyone seems to have right now, but I am okay with jumping on the bandwagon.

Take the good with the bad, the love with the heartbreak, and the hope with the failures. Make 2016 a year of hearts filled with joy. Real, pure joy. 


1 comment:

  1. Wishing your family all the best this year! What joyous pictures and memories, thank you for sharing them with us. I love the fireplace pics!! I have a feeling you will be searching for adult pajamas to recreate those one day when the kids are grown. I wish you everything good as we go into the new year. Let your heart be Light. (that's my 2016 motto)