Friday, January 14, 2011

Thinking About Christmas...

There was not a whole lot that I expected, or wanted, this year for Christmas. I was hoping for a simple day or two at home, with my parents. I had a few things that I really wanted. A couple of craft books, a crochet magazine subscription, and a scarf. Mostly, I was looking forward to some chili rellenos, and time with my parents. And I really wanted to go to Midnight Mass at our church.

It's almost been a month since Christmas. And honestly, this year, Christmas was a blur. I'm not even sure if I wished my Mom a Merry Christmas. I spent the early morning hours talking to my Dad, and praying. Usually I'm up wrapping presents until 4AM! And I had planned on going to Midnight Mass alone. But none of that happened.

It's all OK though. Because my Dad is OK. Minus the little sugar scare yesterday morning. He's honestly doing really well. Gaining strength with each passing day. And I guess being Diabetic Certified is coming in handy now. :) But honestly, Christmas came and went with little notice by me. Sad, but true. All that was on my mind, was getting my Dad healthy. And keeping my Mom calm.

A few years ago, I had a pretty sad Christmas too. Just some personal things that were going on. In the end, my parents and I enjoyed a quiet holiday together. Just the 3 of us. And after Christmas, we took a little road trip through the mountains. That was the year that taught me a lot about myself. For all sorts of reasons.

This year, I looked back on that simple holiday. I'm one of those people that usually write out 500 Christmas cards, bake enough cookies for the US Army, and decorate my house to look like a Christmas Wonderland. Christmas is truly one of my favorite times of year. I just love my religion, and this holiday is all about religion.

But that year, and this past year, it was different. I came home Wednesday, and I saw my sad decorations. Just a wreath on my door, and some bells on my front door. That's it!!! Not me at all! I never set up my Advent Wreath, or Nativity Scene set up. I didn't pick out a Christmas outfit, never finished my shopping, or started my baking, no Christmas cards were sent, and honestly, I think I wore a mismatched pair of sweats on Christmas Day. With snowflake socks, and the same pair of ballet flats that I wore for 2 weeks! I definitely didn't pack, to be home for almost a month.

This year, I definitely became closer to God. It was the first time that I was really scared about losing my Dad. Really scared! As a medical professional, I'm trained to handle tough cases. I've saved a life with a gun to my head. But when it's your parent, it's completely different. And when you see you Dad laying on the ground, bleeding from his head, turning blue, the entire world just stops.

I kept it together. For the most part. I had to. We don't have many people to lean on. And during those first few hours, all my Mom and I really had, was each other. And I needed to protect her. I was the strong one. The one that knew what was coming. The one that sent my Mom to the waiting room, and sat there with my Dad. Knowing that pain and even a bit of yelling was coming.

I anticipated those things. I protected my Mom. And I took care of my Dad. All those nights in the hospital, I stayed up. Talking to my Dad. Praying to God. Pleading with Patrick. Holding on to my faith. And just believing we'd all be OK. I cried. But not until late at night. When my Mom was asleep.

I'm almost positive that my Dad doesn't remember any of this. Or any of the conversations we had. I held tight to my faith. I prayed. I asked God for his grace, love, and strength. And I just held out hope.

We were very lucky. To have amazing people in our lives. Having some of the most amazing friends and family. Friends who are close to my heart. People that I feel closer to than my own family. Lots of prayers. From family and friends, near and far. People who visited every single day. Loved ones that were there for us, when we needed them the most. Whether it was the daily visit, the delicious food, the conversations, the support, or the all meant so much!!!

And during this time, I really felt God's love. I have amazing friends here, that prayed for my Dad and our family. Friends who have never met my parents. They held special masses, said rosaries, and just prayed for us. So many people prayed. And through the power of prayer, love, and Dad made it! :)

It's going to be a long recovery. It's an adjustment for my parents. But I'm just grateful to have my Dad back. He's making a recovery. And I'm so grateful for that. I'm literally speechless. God is Great!!!

This year, Christmas came almost a week late. No fancy dinner. No mass. Heck, I was still wrapping the few presents we had managed to buy one another. It took hours to get through our few gifts. You know, we had a break for a snack, and a little nap. But in the end, I was happy to be with my 2 parents. At home. And healthy.

Christmas isn't about presents, parties, shopping, big meals, or even actually attending mass. It's about those things we hold dear in our hearts. Celebrating Jesus Christ. Remembering what's important. The power of prayer. And the love of family and friends.

This year, the Christmas tree, lights, and all that wrapping paper didn't matter. I didn't watch a single Christmas movie. And I only had 1 relleno. Yes, 1! But I've never been so happy to sit in my parent's living room, listening to my parents sleep. Silly I know. But for us, this year, it really was the sound of pure bliss.

And after weeks at home, 2 trips to my home and back, lots of cooking, cleaning, and medical advice...I'm just happy to know my parents are doing well. Years from now, I'll look back on this holiday season, and remember all the love that I'm surrounded with. The people that truly love me and my family. The people that matter most. I'll remember how love really does conquer all. And that nothing is more important than religion.

Now, I need to get ready. I'm heading home for work. I'll be back by Sunday. To work out here. Honestly, I'm just excited to see my parents! It's been less than 48 hours since I've last seen them. And only 8 hours since we've talked on the phone. But honestly, I cherish every moment that we share. Happy Friday! ♫

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