Christmas Eve is such a special time in our home. I have a carved in stone rule that the mass hysteria stops by noon on this day. This gives everyone plenty of time to come back down to earth for the seriousness of the day. This is the day Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem. The day Mary's body prepared to give birth to the light that is Jesus. This day has truly more significance that merely the day before Christmas.
We'll all start collecting here at 1 p.m. to spend some quality family time together. The girls are excited because Bill's mom is in from Ocean City and we'll be going to mass tonight with everyone. Then our big tradition of dinner out with at least 15 of us at the local cafe. Bill's coming home early from work. Work can wait.
I think back to this time last year. I was minus my hair, exhausted despite the careful planning to give me a little of a break from chemo around the holidays. 2009 has been such a hard year. A year of pain and a year of recovery. I can honestly say I won't have any trouble putting this year behind me.
This doesn't mean I'm not thankful for what I have. I am. I think the only thing that hasn't been shaken is my faith. The depth of my feelings in God have only gotten stronger as I progressed through the nightmare. I have felt all along that He's guiding both Bill and me in the choices we make and that his knowing hand guides the physicians who care for me.
It's been an unbelievably long year. But when I think back to last Christmas, we've made great progress. Maybe not as much as I would have liked but I do know God has a plan for me, my girls and Bill.
Steffie has become a little lady, more aware of her responsibilities and duties in life. She's always been the most aware and sensitive child. Yes, she's a procrastinator of near epic proportions but I see a difference in her. I think of her comment about BC being a good thing for all of us. She feels that it's grounded us in what matters. It's made her more aware than children should be at her age of how her actions affect other people and that every moment should be cherished for the gift that it is.
Jackie has blossomed from baby to little girl in this past year. I get twinges of anger every now and again that this last year was stolen from me by this disease. My baby made this transformation while I was at my very worst. But somewhere inside I know it made her a stronger little girl. Compassion can be taught only by example and I have cherished memories of her tucking up next to me last, snuggling close to make Mommy feel better. And it did.
Bill has been my saving grace. I couldn't have made one step down this long road without him.
There's still more to do. More recovery, more pain from the last surgery, more living but all of it is surrounded by love.