2012 has been an eventful year for us primarily due to my diagnosis, on-going treatment and the wider impacts this has for our individual and interdependent lives in the years ahead. We’ve already shared our birthdays under the shadow of cancer and now we’re about to enter the festive season while I prepare for further chemotherapy on 28th December.
Talking to my son last night, or rather while I was talking and he was IM-ing questions and responses over Skype from the university library, we mused on a number of topics including Christmas.
I know it’s silly and sentimental but I couldn’t resist asking whether he’s looking forward to it this year even though he’s past the excitable youngster stage. I thought he might say he’s looking forward to having some time off from university, would prefer Christmas cake to Christmas pudding and hoped to receive some support with the assignments he needs to complete during the break. Instead he said he was sad that I have to go for chemo on 28th, he wants to come with me as he’ll be home that day and yes, he’s very much looking forward to Christmas this year. Not just looking forward to it but positively excited about it, as much as he was when he was a young child. The most excited he’s felt for several years. He says he doesn’t know why he feels this way, he just does and I think that’s a wonderful way to be.
“I’m so excited Mom.”
So excited. Once he said it I could feel my own enthusiasm beginning to unfold, peeling back the tape and undoing the wrap shrouding the playful spirit that resides deep inside me. His raised eyebrow when he discovers a stocking outside his bedroom door on Christmas morning, anticipating the look on his face when he opens his gifts. Hearing his half-hearted grumbles about the impossible way I combine sticky tape and paper to make unwrapping impervious to quick release of the contents within and making sure he reads every gift tag, acknowledges and is grateful for the kindness others show him. The wrapping, the smiles, the laughter and the corny Christmas cracker jokes. The time spent together doing nothing in particular, simply enjoying the opportunity of each other’s company for a few days.
I’m sure I may (will) find I’ve forgotten some essential ingredient when the day comes. Or I might deliver a less than perfect Christmas dinner when my slightly addled brain throws precision planning and timing into a spin. But I already know those minor inconveniences won’t stop us enjoying this Christmas. More importantly, neither will the unpropitious spectre called cancer.
Christmas 2012 is exciting. We’ll be here, together, to enjoy its true spirit.