We decided to call it “the Christmas where no one came to dinner.” But that’s not why it was good.
It was good because I got the best present I could possibly have wanted. For the first time in weeks, my sweetie had sparkle in his eyes, his color was good, and you could tell by looking at him that he was feeling better, significantly better. Life was coming back.
It was the Christmas gift I had prayed for.
We had had a rather fraught 6 days prior to yesterday. And that wasn’t just because of the usual pre-Christmas stress. Still on a slow road to recovery from his hospital stay, on Thursday his blood pressure shot through the roof (over 200 at one point, which is really scary). At the same time, his pulse was so low that he could hardly put one foot in front of the other. I’ll spare you too many details but since the hospital, his doctors made major adjustments to BP meds because they were concerned about possible damage some of them might be doing to his transplanted kidney, which has been persnickety since it came to stay. Consequently, we were on the phone to his nephrologist every day for the next 5 days (thankfully, he was on call over the holiday weekend). After many adjustments, changes of meds, etc., he finally prescribed another new pill on Christmas Eve, adjusted dosage to another and took away one altogether.
And so, Christmas morning dawned and I could tell as soon as I saw him that he was better. Oh, joy to the world! The relief was instantly both physically and emotionally lightening for me. For days I had been worried. I think we both were but we tried to hide it from each other. It had been a pall hanging over us.
Then we got a call from my sister. She and my 3 nieces (who were home from various parts of the US) were planning on coming for a Christmas overnight and I was expecting them mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, 2 of the 4 of them were sick and they made the decision to stay home. It was a hard one but no one wanted to risk giving a bug to their immune-suppressed uncle. Hopefully, we can re-group this weekend when everyone is feeling better, though we will likely be fewer in number.
My sister was bringing the turkey. Uh oh. Eventually, I pulled something out of the freezer to make meatloaf with. Not your typical Christmas menu, but it was all good.
The turn of events with my family brought our expected number of heads at the Christmas table from 7 down to 3. The third is our dear friend Phylliss. She is who got Patrick to the doctor and subsequently the hospital while I was in Europe. And it was she who stayed with him in the ER and then ICU until 3 in the morning. We have been friends for almost 40 years and I owe her everything. We both do.
We had a lovely, low-key day, just the 2 of us. We exchanged gifts. What I received was perfect – everything I love most: a couple of books, some nice new socks, enough dark chocolate to keep me for several months, and (yes, of course!) a couple of new Christmas ornaments.
Around 6:30 Phylliss turned up as scheduled, on the heels of 2 other Christmas engagements. Dinner would be ready about 8. But she was feeling a bit tired and, not liking to drive much at night, decided to stay long enough only for a glass of wine, to open gifts, and have a nice little visit before heading back across the river to home.
And, so…it was just two little Indians for Christmas dinner.
At the end of the night, while the other souls in the house slept, I ushered in Boxing Day (my mother’s favorite day of the year) with a glass of wine, Christmas music, candlelight, and the lights of the Christmas tree.
And all was well with the world.
I’m going to take a few days to just slow down and enjoy the possibility of being able to do just that. But I did want to share a couple of photos of my trees with you. I finished decorating on Sunday – just in time.
It is a lot of work? Yes. But after almost 40 years of collecting, I have so many memories wrapped up in what’s on the tree(s) that Christmas is a little lacking without those tangible bits to bring me back to moments – and people – in the past. My little family is a much smaller nucleus now; it’s important for me to remember and hold things close.
I’ll be back in a few days to show you more, including treasures I brought back from my trip. Until then, I hope you all had a wonderful, meaningful day yesterday and are keeping Christmastide in your heart.