Dec 28 2004
Ahhh. . . Christmas.Â I wish I could say “Oh, isn’t it wonderful that it’s over”, but it isn’t over.Â Not for us, anyway.Â We still are headed “Up North” tomorrow to spend time with the Medical Mothers-In-Law (hee) and Lucky and Galleta.Â But regardless of my whining in the second sentence up above, I am so, SO looking forward to going up north.Â I love it up there.Â We will just have to buy and wrap several Christmas presents for the moms tomorrow.
Anyway, regularly scheduled Christmas proceeded much as it does every year, with one plot twist: instead of going to my mom and stepdad’s house for “early Christmas” as we usually do, we headed down to my stepsister’s in Detroit on Christmas Eve and did the whole shebang there.Â It was nice, although her house is kind of small for nine adults and one baby and one LARGE dog.Â The bonus part of this is that I got several hugs from my sister while we were smooshed on the couch.Â My sister hugs very nicely.Â Plus, we managed to get there in an hour and fifteen minutes, an unheard-of travel time.Â Everyone seemed to like their presents.Â My stepdad in particular was geeked about the T-shirt I bought him.Â Apparently I got the Extra Super Special kind of T-Shirt that does not shrink in the wash.Â Who knew?
Christmas Day was the usual groggy morning gather at The Man’s father’s house.Â This year we actually got there at 9:30 as opposed to 7:00 in the freaking morning.Â And we weren’t even the last to arrive!Â We hung out there until about 12:30, looking at wedding pictures and stuffing our faces with pigs-in-a-blanket.Â I spent some time amusing Rowan (the youngest kid), but it wasn’t too hard to keep her amused.Â It was harder to keep her shoe out of her mouth.Â She wanted to eat her shoe, something I couldn’t countenance.Â Her mom got a big kick out of me saying “Don’t eat your shoe!Â Shoes are dirty!Â You’re already sick, you don’t need to be licking the bottom of a shoe!”
After the in-laws, we headed to Grandma’s house for Large Christmas Dinner and Obligatory Wine Drinking.Â The dinner, I must say, was excellent.Â My grandmother made roast beef, and it was falling apart tender.Â She always complains about her own cooking, but really, she makes the best food EVER. More looking at the wedding pictures ensued.Â Much drinking of my brother-in-law’s homemade wine ensued.Â I had a nice little wine buzz going on, but I managed to remain somewhat normal instead of becoming Loud Foolish Girl, as I often do when drinking.
Anyway, there was really nothing terribly special about this Christmas.Â It was the usual, which I was supremely grateful for.Â I like routine around my holidays.Â I don’t like surprises or big changes of plan.Â I like to be with my family with a minimum of hassle or stress, and that seemed to be accomplished.
One thing that struck me this year, that hasn’t really struck me in years before, is that it is quite possible that this might have been my last Christmas with my maternal grandmother, the one who is always called Grandma on these pages.Â It’s not that she is in bad health or anything, or that she’s had any serious scares.Â But, she is old, and anything may happen.Â It makes me extremely sad to think about her not being in this world anymore, but at the same time, I know that she would like to be with my grandfather again.Â I can’t kid myself, I know she’s been lonely for the past seven years.Â Selfishly, I never really think about what it’s like for her, I generally just think about what’s convenient for me.
My grandmother is one of the strongest and kindest people I know.Â She is fairly outspoken, but she does not beat people down.Â She does not like anyone to use the word “hate”, even as a figure of speech; “hate” is an emotion that should never be felt or expressed because it is not the way we should treat other people.Â She is a devout Christian Scientist, but despite her beliefs, she thinks George W. Bush is a dope.Â Grandma believes in the healing power of faith in God.Â Doctors don’t know everything, and should be aware that they do not have the ultimate power in their hands.Â One of my favorite Grandma stories was told to me by my mother.Â This happened when my mom was a child:
Grandma had been losing strength in her right hand for awhile.Â She couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but it was getting to the point where she couldn’t do anything with her right hand.Â My grandfather took her to the doctor’s, who told my grandmother that she had contracted some sort of virus which was degrading her muscles.Â Her right hand would never be useful again.Â Actually, it was likely that she would lose all use of it and never regain any sort of control.Â When my grandparents returned from the doctors and their children heard what the doctor had said, they were all scared about what was going to happen to their mother.Â My mom asked my grandma: “What’s going to happen?” and my grandmother simply replied “Don’t worry about it.Â Nothing is wrong.”
My grandmother never lost the use of her hand.Â As a matter of fact, within several weeks, she had regained almost all of the control she had lost and was back to normal.Â She didn’t take any pills or do any special exercises.Â She placed her faith in God and his ability to heal her, and so it was.
Now, you might scoff and say there is some rational explanation for all of this, that the doctor’s prognosis was wrong, or whatever.Â I don’t necessarily agree that God came down and healed my grandmother’s hand, but regardless, that story has always been a favorite of mine because it shows my grandmother’s courage and will.Â She has never accepted quietly what other people hand her just because that’s the way it’s done.Â She is a gentle and kind woman, but she also has an intelligent mind and is not afraid to use it.Â She has tried to teach me lessons in courtesy and patience. . . some of which, I’m sad to say, didn’t take very well.Â But, she is an example to me of how it SHOULD be done.Â She doesn’t lose her temper and yell at her loved ones.Â She doesn’t write people off out of hand as idiots or useless.Â She doesn’t ignore those who she might rather not speak to. . . instead she is polite and gracious.Â She is funny, and she loves to laugh.Â She has the great ability to laugh at herself and the WONDERFUL ability to not laugh at others when doing so would cause hurt.Â She is not selfish, and she does not ask much of those around her.Â She works hard, sometimes harder than she should, and she doesn’t complain about the things that she can’t change.
I’m sure this is starting to sound a little unrealistic, like my grandmother is some kind of a saint or something.Â She’s not a saint, but she is a very good human being.Â If she ever read this, she would probably tell me that I was overstating things by quite a bit, and it’s true that she does have her faults, like everyone else.Â But tremendous kindness and love excuses a lot of things, and my grandmother has kindness and love in spades.