My Mom, who is infinitely wise, strong, and loving (really!) challenged me to remember last Christmas.
The 24th and the 25th are a blank for me. I know my behaviour must have been outrageous.
I did, will always ever, love a wonderful person who shared, or might have shared, or celebrate, or, whatever, holidays.
1) Refugee Thanksgiving
We made an orange and brown jello mold dessert. I have that power, given assistance, and we worked together. There were after dinner games, during which my partner didn't listen to me re: hints on winning the game, and I did become a wee bit frustrated; afterwards, dancing on the steps of the Natural History Museum, which he refused to join. We get home, full of turkey. Everything I've said during the course of the evening, it turns out, revealed my stupidity, cupidity, and reflected poorly upon him. Especially dancing with my dear friend from grad school.
2) Thanksgiving several years later
My sister is having Thanksgiving; more than 20 people will be there, and she is an amazing cook. Somebody refuses to attend. I roast two enormous Turkey drumsticks, make the sweet potatoes just right, rolls and stuffing and gravy. I take out the good dishes, and serve the meal to him on a TV tray, because he is sulking in front of the tv. I drive myself across town alone, have a decent time, although doing that sort of thing is very lonely. The feasting lasts awhile, but I leave early, because there's an unspoken curfew. I get home, the house is dark, and the untouched meal is in the garbage can.
3) A Thanksgiving Brunch
My sister and future brother-in-law have a better feast to attend, but I can't replicate former THX. I invite my Uncle and Aunt, and my sister and her partner agree to come for brunch. We have turkey sausage, omelets, home fries/stuffing. It is cool. My sister makes one of her signature dishes to bring to the other party. They say, you know you can come with us. I say, no, I can't.
4) The other party
So, this is another huge, gala, Thanksgiving feast.
I decide I'm going. I show up early. My sister and I make the gravy, seemingly out of nothing, because there aren't enough pan juices. He decides to show up during the meal. Thanks for working out the designated driver thing.
5) One Easter
Easter Sunday is a day an art auction is scheduled. WiFi, computers, at the host house? Nah. I'm gonna stay home and buy a [major picture] by [major artist] depicting the aftermath of a huge holiday meal. Lovely painting.
these are out of order, right now:
6) Christmas? Try New Years.
I don't even remember what happened during that Christmas anymore. It was one of those holidays I packed my bags and was ready to leave. After that, we fell in love with each other again; we booked a suite in a nice hotel on the beach for New Years, a place we could bring our pet. My parents were very confused by this falling back in love situation. We didn't like the band at the hotel, my friends who were supposed to have fun with us were going through their own problems. We wandered around in tux and ballgown; I made some Bellinis. We drank them on the balcony, we drank them on the beach, he proposed for the second time. Gobsmacked, devastatingly romantic, honest and true.
7) The worst Christmas ever #2
8) The worst Christmas ever #3
9) The worst Christmas ever #4
10) The time I went home and had a good Christmas with my fabulous family
11) The Christmas I was seriously ill
So I hadn't started radiation yet, but because I had had lymph nodes removed, I wasn't supposed to raise my arm. So who is the short woman in charge of decorating the top of the Christmas tree? The one who is unable to move a ladder? Yeah. Something snapped inside of my body. I heard/felt it. Physical Therapist and Lymphatic message people said it was probably ok and sorta fixed it.
12) The Christmas I was only sick
A little bit of perspective: my Mom always worked really hard on Christmas, our extended family came into town, often (or it seemed to me, almost always) in the middle of a blizzard, and most of these holidays, she became very sick. I did it to myself more than once. Call it a family tradition, except that my sister is much smarter than this.
This particular holiday, I'm already on antibiotic for an intestinal problem, and then the green phlegm starts. Our internist calls in very strong antibiotic, says, "The green phlegm is laughing at your current antibiotic." I spend most of the holiday in bed, waited on hand and foot by my husband, parents, sister. My husband and Dad go to the library to get me reading material, and my husband begins my love affair with the very long, dense, book about a dictator (mentioned elsewhere on this blog). Well done! One of my favorite memories; he's a genius at selecting books. Because there is no plot, it is difficult to read more than a page without falling to sleep. Read a page about Mussolini, sleep. Read another page about Mussolini, sleep. By New Years, I'm still in bed, but he moves the television into my bedroom. Many mutual assurances that I'm no longer contagious, and that some champagne isn't going to kill me. Best New Years "in" ever.
13) The Christmas he was seriously ill
The previous Christmas had been difficult, so we book our flights and then my husband starts not feeling well. I am callous, although concerned. Our internist, who is a great diagnostician, can't figure it out. Parrot Fever? It is not pneumonia. I have my doubts about the legitimacy of the ailment, so he stays home and I go to my family, 3000 miles away. The evening of December 24, he calls me at my parents' party. He has had to drive himself, all alone, to the emergency room, not being able to breathe, and was able to get treatment and beg the doctors not to spend the holiday in the hospital. A friend of my family is a 1,000,000 miler; I get on the next plane home. He is gasping for air, and can't fill his prescriptions. Still in my party clothes, I go to the drugstore open on Christmas Day and get them filled. I failed my true love. This changed our lives.
14) The holiday we tried, but it didn't work, #1
15) The holiday we tried, but it didn't work, #2
16) The Christmas we pulled it together #1
17) Magical Halloween #1
18) Magical Halloween #2
19) Magical Halloween #3