So, I was originally going to post this under a topic on the forums, but then I thought it was maybe a little too off topic, but I still wanted to share:
I’ve never really been a big fan of the holidays — growing up dirt poor, we often didn’t have any money for Christmas, and relied heavily on charity to even have a holiday. When I first started spending the holidays with my husband’s family, it was a little overwhelming for me — so much holiday cheer. Really? People actually enjoying the holidays???? However, these last few years have really put a damper on even their Christmas cheer.
Rio’s cancer treatments have fallen around the holidays — radiation for Christmas 2007 and surgery and chemo around the holidays in 2009. Three years ago this week our beloved cousin lost her battle with breast cancer. Last Christmas, we weren’t sure if my husband’s grandmother would make it to Christmas following a spill (and subsequent head injury) on Thanksgiving day. And my husband had just lost his job. And, this year, I am still worried that Rio might not make it to the holidays, plus my husband is still unemployed. Merry Christmas to us.
Now to my point in all of this: In this life, there are things you can control, and others that you can’t. Although I’ve been feeling very bah-humbug-ish, I had a bit of an ah-ha moment this afternoon after one of my Tripawds friends asked me about holiday traditions that got me into the spirit. I got to thinking about my favorite Christmas tradition — putting up our tree. We don’t do theme trees at our house — all of our ornaments are specific to an event, a time, a place, something special for each year. The year we went to France, I bought a blown glass Eiffel Tower. Australia, I bought a kangaroo carved out of some strange palm tree. The year we got Rio, I have a little brown and black puppy ornament. You get the picture — our tree is like a journal, and every year, it’s like getting to read and remember only the happy moments.
In thinking about this tradition, I had a small epiphany — this will likely be my last Christmas with Rio, and, damn it, I want it to be the best one she’s/I’ve ever had. Not in terms of gifts, because dog knows we can’t afford that, but in terms of the holiday spirit. I want lots of warm and fuzzy memories to carry me through the dark days ahead. I’m going to listen to my Tripawd Warrior Code and live in the moment. I may not get to “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of bliss, but I will make it through the next few weeks without gagging and bah-humbugging on “holiday spirit.” (Although if I hear one more TV or radio commercial butcher some poor innocent and unsuspecting Christmas song, I may rethink this whole thing.)