Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Holidays

Mentally for me the holidays are just beginning.  Or should I say just continuing.  Not in the sense of festivities and parties, but in the sense of calmness, reflection, and responding to my Savior.

Each year there is the attempt to have things calmer than the year before.  Get it all done so there is no last minute shopping.  To spend quality time enjoying some family down time.  But sometimes life gets in the way.  Sometimes in a truer sense than we realize.

The shopping was mostly done reasonably before Christmas.  We had some good family times of watching some Christmas favorites- Elf, Polar Express, Miracle on 34th Street, and our newest addition, Arthur Christmas.  We drove around to see Christmas lights.  We even managed to get in a day or so of some baking. 

But my mind wasn't really in it.  I tried.  I really did.  But my mind was distracted.

One major factor in this was swim team.  There is no break from swim team during the holidays.  It is right in the middle of season.  It is jokingly called swim team boot camp, with some two-a-days thrown in there.  Then, the weekend before Christmas was a swim meet.  Not only was that tiring in and of itself.  I hadn't slept much that weekend.  That was the beginning of the hugest impact of our Christmas this year.

About a week and a half before Christmas my grandmother exhibited some stroke symptoms.  Long story short, she ended up suffering a massive stroke after she had been admitted into the hospital.  The Wednesday before Christmas she was transported home on hospice.  From there, she would rally, then have a set-back.  This went on for several days.

Christmas Eve arrived.  The family gathered for our annual Christmas Eve at Mimi's house (though this was one of the few we actually had at her apartment since she moved there.  Usually it was at my mom's house).  In order to not burden anyone, we ordered out the family favorite bbq pizza from Coletta's (plus it was what my brother wanted and it was, after all, his birthday).  We opened presents in shifts in the living room, taking turns to go talk to Mimi and visit.  The great-grand kids took their presents from her back to her room so she could watch them open.  Then we all gathered and watched old (very old) home movies from when my mom and aunt were young.  It was a special family time, especially with the addition of a new cousin-in-law.

I would be remiss if I didn't tell you about the state of my grandmother in all of this.  She is a stubborn one.  A controlling one.  She went home on hospice, not being able to eat, drink, or talk,  then began to be able to swallow, and communicate by spelling words in the air.  She was determined to not be left out.  She would even correct us if we identified someone or something wrong in the home movies.  Yes, a true matriarch.

Christmas day came and went, and with it began her decline.  She went to be with her Savior early the morning of December 28. 

We celebrate this moment, as she is well and whole, in the arms of Her Savior, and reunited with her husband.  We grieve as we remember her and her mannerisms, and her particular way of liking things, and the special things she did for us.  But all is good.

So here it is.  New Years Day.  As I reflect over Christmas, I remember trying to focus on moments.  To have them seer in my mind.  Working to make it a joyous time for the kids.  But, still.  Whoosh.  And its gone. 

It wasn't what I had envisioned.  Relaxing days of family movies and table games.  Of more baking.  Of blogging.  Of purging the house.   But it was what God had envisioned.  So, I'll take it.  

It was a surprising blur.  Mentally, my mind was occupied on the family and my grandmother.  My mind continually wandering.    I can't imagine what it has been like for my mom and aunt, who provided care and sat vigil for so many days.  Their work is continuing as I type this.  Purging, grieving, cleaning, remembering.

So how does it seem the holidays are continuing?  My mind is desiring to rest, to be purposeful, to remember why we have Christmas and the babe in the manger.  To rejoice in the fact that because of the Babe in the manger, Jesus, we will all be reunited in Heaven one day.  Until then, while on this earth, I pray that I can continue to carry about me the peace that comes with the Christmas season, and remember that God is directing my steps.

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