Well, here I sit in a quiet house, all the Christmas paper, ribbons and boxes cleared away, leaving the Christmas tree to enjoy through January 6th. Ray is upstairs asleep after a terrible bout with stomach flu that started a few hours after all our kids and grandkids left. This is the same flu that literally brought me to my knees the night before and rendered me useless to help on Christmas Day, other than offer quiet suggestions from my spot on the couch in the den with a blanket pulled up to my chin while the family bustled around, heating up the stuffed shells and other food that I had made the day before (Thank God). Nonetheless, our Christmas meal was pretty and apparently tasted good as well, so noted from my position in an easy chair near the dinner table where I noticed a nice long silence while people ate – a very good sign for the cook in the family. I was surprised that anyone agreed to step foot in this house since I had come down with my illness on Christmas Eve, but seeing that daughter Sarah and her family had already gone through a full week of this unpleasant flu, and my daughter Rachael had a week of feeling yucky and constantly nauseated, I guess they felt fairly immune. (Hopefully, they are.) As it stands, there are three who came: daughter Liz, her boyfriend Ron and Rachael’s boyfriend Ariel who have not had this ailment. Let’s see how they fare over the next few days…)
I feel better. Ray will feel better soon. He has a temperature and has been sleeping all day, but given my own experience, I can see this is a virulent, but short-lived virus. The timing wasn’t so good for me, but I did get to see how my family rallies when I am not at the forefront leading the holiday dinner charge. Nice to see they are fine, albeit not quite as formal as I would have the meal. No tablecloth or cloth napkins, but there were candles! I thought they did a fine job given such short notice. When I commented, “It’s good I made the food in advance,” Ray responded, “But if you hadn’t we would have just gone to a Chinese restaurant with all the Jewish families in town.” I had to admit this was true and there is some liberation in that thought. Still, it’s not quite the same as being at home eating Mom’s homemade stuffed shells, chocolate eclair cake and peach pie.
As always, I am grateful for this family of mine and with each year I see how the girls (young women now) and their partners grow ever closer, creating their own tight bonds. As a parent, this makes me very happy since I want nothing more than stability and positive support for my little ones as they age and build their own families. Love breeds love and as I sat and watched from my chair yesterday, I can safely say love abounds in this family. For that I am eternally grateful.
I know this is a tough time for some people and if you are in that category then please know that my heart is with you. It is no fun being alone or feeling alone in a crowd or feeling on the outside looking in. If you are feeling any of those things, then you may be relieved Christmas is over and that the holiday season is drawing to a close. I have no magic soothing words for you, but if there is salve in feeling acknowledged, then I can give you that. The longer I live the more I come to know how much pain there is in the world, and the more I recognize there are few easy answers. Sometimes, just getting up each morning and facing the day is a victory. “Peace be with you” are the words I can offer.
My best to all of you over this holiday season. I wish you well and will do my best to get well. Ray will certainly do the same.
Here’s to the end of 2016. A year with much joy and some real sorrow. I will trust in hope and joy and peace, and will do my best to help bring that into the world.
Here’s to you, my friends.