We plated up some cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for all the reindeer. Plus we left some spiced nuts for Santa with explicit instructions for him to share with Mrs. Claus.
Magically, Santa left a present outside of Z's door. Even more magically, Z didn't wake up until her clock turned green at the appointed allowed hour of 7 am.
My parents were here for Christmas to help us overeat our parade of cheeses, the never-ending supply of Christmas cookies and the melt-in-your-mouth Harry and David pears. Plus, they put in some serious time holding a teething baby and listening to a whiny preschooler.
It was actually a lovely Christmas all around. No one was sick (a Christmas miracle!). For all her whining, Z was gleeful about everything Christmas and not TOO grabby about her presents. For all her teething, E is just so delicious I have a hard time not chomping into her for an extra dessert every evening. But I've been a bit strung out this holiday season. There is the usual "I didn't get the right things for people" stress-out that I always go through. Then there is the usual "eating too much sugar which tends to make me grumpy" situation. Lastly we have the usual "a toy store puked in my living room and what's with all the plastic twist ties?" lament.
But mostly I think my poor mood is a result of the fact that my dad has to start chemo again, and this time with radiation. Fucking cancer. My parents were just starting to recover from his first round of chemo last spring and were looking forward to a sunny vacation and some time spent getting stronger and moving forward. No such luck.
I'm not very good at compartmentalizing things. My dad's cancer feels like one of those mysterious refrigerator stenches that won't go away. Every time I inhale it's there, if only just a little. And I'm a little too scared to really look at it.
So I have to sit with it beside me (we'll move away from that stench metaphor right now THANK GOD), to know it and still truck along, doing everything else that is my life. It feels unfair to have had this holiday (like last years) overshadowed by a dark CANCEEEERRRR cloud. Not to get too Pollyanna-ish but I do find it helpful to think about how lucky we all are that my parents have good health insurance and the means to pursue all treatments recommended to them. I can't imagine how much more stressful and difficult all this would be if that weren't the case.
So this is my current personal project: to move forward with positivity, even in the face of the usual cluelessness and imperfection and the fucking cancer. To do the little things that make a difference. To focus on the big, good stuff (and not let things like the fact that our basement just flooded after our last rain storm make me totally bonkers with stress).
To finally get Z's prints (from etsy) hung on her wall after framing them four months ago (and to immediately let go of how long it took to get them hung).
To receive and enjoy the gingerbread man ornaments for Z and E the day after Christmas (and immediately forgive myself for not realizing that they had to be shipped from the Netherlands. Etsy! It's international! *forehead smack*)
To find continuous inspiration in the openness of this face (and find a deep well of understanding for how hard it must be to have those blunt little suckers poking up through her gums)
To make the trek up to New Jersey next week to see my parents again as well as my grandfather, brother, sister-in-law and niece (and not grumble once about lost naps or messed up schedules). Because family is what it's all about.
Feel free to smack me on the forehead each and every time I forget this.