New memories were made on Christmas Day, positive ones that will stand us in good stead for the future. Appreciation written in a card for unfaltering support during a troublesome year. A warm thank you for dinner, including the carrots (!) and a life-long agreement that we’re never too old to hang up a stocking in the hope we’ve behaved well enough to avoid finding coal or sprouts at the bottom. Personally I like sprouts but my son doesn’t.
Some everyday, non-Christmassy things were noticed and appreciated too. “Mom, your nails are back and your hair isn’t white. It’s still ginger and it’s grown… and you’re doing great.” There’s nothing special about hair or nails until you see your Mom without them. Then you find your teenage years – time that’s supposed to be carefree – erased by the concepts of critical illness and death. Cancer is such a thief. We’ve spent a lot of time together in recent months but yesterday brought a new dawn for my son. It was almost as if a thunder-cloud had lifted from his shoulders and sunlight was streaming into his world once more. Mom isn’t covered in bruises, stalled between life and death or endangered by other people’s germs. Mom’s just Mom again and that’s the best gift my son received this Christmas. It’s the best thing I could’ve wished for too.
Of course the future will be different because everything changed. We’ve no idea what that might mean and it doesn’t matter because the future was never guaranteed. (We just kid ourselves into thinking we have some control over it). Whatever it is, worry won’t cause it to better or worse. The present, well that’s another story. It’s easier to make the most of today when it isn’t clouded by maybes, or promises based on frail assumptions of plenty more tomorrows to make good the pledges.
The new memories are very ordinary yet extraordinarily special. Sharing Christmas dinner together, listening to carols, watching movies and finding neither sprouts nor coal in the stocking. Laughing that socks are a good present when the washing machine seems intent on eating them throughout the year. We were all pleased with our gifts, made the most of the chance to relax and enjoyed the food and drink. More than any time previously we found that one day of happy, uninterrupted time together was the most precious gift of all and for that we were enormously grateful.