Christmas 2004. The house hunk and I planned to go to New York for Christmas. Then came the call from his doctor. A surgery planned for January had to be moved up. After January 1st, our insurance would no longer cover it.
We spent the last few days of Christmas week rushing around, trying to fit in all the pre-surgery tests so he would be ready. Three days before Christmas, he went in the hospital. The surgery went well, but his projected release date wasn't until December 26th.
I went up to visit him on Christmas Eve. I remember my pleased surprise when I saw the small poinsettia plant on his table. The splash of red stood out in the blah-colored room. It seems a volunteer group made it their business to give every patient a plant.
Then the doctor came in with an even better surprise. The hunk could go home! It was dark and cold, but at seven in the evening we arrived home. He went to bed. I put on some Christmas Carols and determined I would not feel sorry for myself. Instead, I called each of my children and my parents to let them know he was home and doing well.
The next day I made a small dinner for myself. He had a fabulous liquid lunch. His surgery? Bariatric surgery. So dinner was not the most important thing on his horizon. I admit it was an odd Christmas. But we were together and that's what counted, ultimately.
Christmas, after all, isn't made up of presents, a fancy dinner, or even the decorations. I've relearned that this year with the limits my diabetes have placed on the Christmas goodies. But Christmas can be about loneliness, past heartaches, financial hardships if we let it be. Or we can choose to focus on that small bit of peace around us. Light a candle. Put some music on low. Notice things like the Father Christmas at my grocery store who took the time to greet every shopper--yes even the grumpy ones. Find the things that make us smile.