Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Hopes for the New Year

Today ends one year, and starts a new one. I fully realize that it will be the same week, and just another day in may respects, but I am hoping that tomorrow, and this new year, will bring a lot with it.

This year has by far been one of the worst, if not the worst, years of my life. This year has been full of more heartache than I would ever care to retell, or even remember.

My hopes for the next year are both simple and huge. I hope for a better, happier year for everyone I care about, including myself.

If I don't get a better year next year, I am asking for a refund, for real.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I hate cancer.

A very good friend of mine just let us know that her father had cancer. She facebooked something about his condition, 'cause you know that's how we do, and another friend of ours replied to the news in a way that caught me off guard. The last part of her reply really struck me. "I hate cancer" was her reply. It was simple, honest, and direct.

I kept looking at it, thinking, that I hate cancer, too. In all honestly, there are few things that I would say I hate. Cancer is definitely one of them. I guess I just never thought about how much I hate cancer before, but I do.

Cancer has touched the lives of so many people that I know, and it has never been a good thing.

Cancer has taken the lives of those I love. It has changed those I love the most, and not for the better.

My mom faced breast cancer a few years ago. It was a terrible experience. She made it through, though.
I lost both of my maternal grandparents to cancer. My mom has lost so many cousins, aunts, and uncles to cancer, that is seems to be the way we die. The reality is that I will very likely face cancer myself. We are carriers of a gene that causes lots of different cancers. I know that there is a good chance my children will have to deal with cancer in some form or fashion, thought I pray that gene skipped them.

I hate cancer. All forms of cancer. I hate it.

I want to get mad at an entire disease spectrum. While there isn't anything tangible that I can fight, I can find a way to fight cancer. I can be vigilant. I can be responsible for myself and my actions and try to prevent cancer. I can do monthly breast self exams and get my yearly mammogram, started early because of our family history. Being vigilant also means limited my risks of skin cancer from sun exposure, something that is also common in my family. I can eat healthy, cancer fighting foods, and feed my family the same things. I can help to raise money for cancer research. I can raise awareness about cancer research and causes. Most importantly for me right now, I can support those who have cancer, and do what I can for them and their loved ones.
I will do anything for my friend, and her family, that I can to help them through this time. I will be there. I will bring them food. I will do anything that I can to help out, because I know how scary this time is and I hate that they have to go through this.

I will fight this awful disease any and every way I can.

If we all fight cancer in every way we can, maybe one day, together, we can finally put the disease down, and keep it down.

I hate cancer.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas on the Other Side

As long as your particular religious view, or your parents views, allow it, we all grow up knowing Christmas. You know all about trying to sleep, when you really can't because you know Santa is coming. You know all about waking up before the sun comes up to try and force your parents to let you see if Santa has come.
If your anything like my brother and I, you know all about trying to sneak down stairs, after being told no and go back to bed, to see Santa anyway. You know which boards in the floor are creaky, and which step to avoid. You even know that the cushion from the small couch upstairs make a great silencer for sliding down the stairs unheard. You know the joy of that first peak of the tree on Christmas morning. You know how it feels to open your gifts.

You know all that and more, but, I honestly believe it isn't until you become a parent that you really know Christmas.

Christmas as a parent is totally different world.

Now, instead of trying to get downstairs unheard, I am trying to keep my girls upstairs in bed. I am trying to keep the magic alive and real for them.

Christmas is time of wonder and being a parent, you get to not only experience it through them, but help create the magic for them. I think that is an unbelievably cool thing to be a part of. Experiencing the magic is great, but making the making for other people is even greater. You get to be the reason for the twinkle in their eyes, the smiles you see on their faces, and their belief in the magic of the season. I honestly can't think of anything cooler right now.

It doesn't have to be through big, expensive things, either.

This year, I took the girls caroling with The Big One's Girl Scout troop. We looked at Christmas lights, and sang to people around us. The lights were awesome, and I mean that that in the truest sense of the word. The girls were all amazed by what they saw, and they were thrilled to be able to make people smile. We all walked away with a little more Christmas magic in our hearts, and it only took a little time, and a little gas.

We made magical reindeer food to put out for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve. A little oatmeal, some white, red, and green sugar all mixed with a drop of love make the best reindeer food ever. All of it was left over from last year, or out of the pantry. Again, just a little time, a little imagination, and the girls were part of something that I hope they will remember forever, and carry forward into their own families.

They left letters and pictures for Santa, who left them a letter back. The letter goes into the family scrap book so that they can keep it forever and treasure it always.

I really can't explain the feeling of making Christmas wondrous for a child, if you haven't been there, but I can tell you that it makes your heart warm. It feels like love a million times over. At least, that is the way it feels to me, and I hope for everyone else.

Peace and Love to you and yours this holiday season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It may not be Normal, but it is mine

I love traditions. Most traditions, anyway. People talk about holiday traditions all the time. My sister and i started talking about our holiday traditions. She told me that while chatting with a friend recently, she told this friend that we had no Thanksgiving traditions, and not much of a Thanksgiving at all. I have to differ from this opinion. You see, we do have at tradition, just not anything like a normal one. I love it, though, and as difficult as it is, it is our tradition.

My mom runs a very large craft show back home in Tennessee. She took it over a few years ago, but has been a part of it as a crafter for since the beginning, 27 years ago. So, we have been doing this a while.

Thanksgiving weekend the show goes on. So, the weeks and days leading up to Thanksgiving, and that weekend are very busy.

Every year now, on Thanksgiving day, Mom, family, and I go to my uncle's home(formerly my grandparent's before they passed)for lunch with her family. We all make it quick, though for different reasons. Mom needs to get to work on the show, and the rest of us just want to show face, put in our time, and get the heck out of dodge as soon as we can, and before the obligatory Thanksgiving day family fracas starts.

Once lunch is over, we head to the location of the craft show, about 25 minutes away, to let the vendors setup. We have already spent the two days before, setting up. On Tuesday night, and I mean all night, we set up the location, laying out booths, and so on. The vendors can come in the next day and setup their own booths, or they can come on Thanksgiving day and finish up. We get done around 7:00pm, with my usually fussing about people not respecting time, and trying to usher Mom out the door. I'm not the nice one of the two of us, in case anyone wondered.

Then, we go home to our own family Thanksgiving, even as late as it is by then. My sister spends the day cooking, Mom usually pre-preps as much of it as she can for her. Then, we finish what we need to when we get there. We end up having a really late supper, and being totally exhausted.

I know it is hectic, exhausting, and a little crazy, but I love and enjoy it regardless. While it may not be as Normal Rockwell as other people's Thanksgivings, this is our tradition, and I appreciate it for what it is, and hope to be doing it for a long time.