Ah. In the words of Dickens, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Where do I begin to tell the tale of two Christmases? Let's start with a couple pictures:
The second tale of Christmas tells paints quite a different picture, and it begins on day one of our Christmas vacation. This is the the story of all that unfolded behind the scenes of our picture perfect holiday.
*Day One--Grandma went to the hospital.
*Day Two--Marshall fell and broke his hip. The x-rays revealed a cyst on his bone & he was referred to oncology for tests.
*Day Three--Taylor jumped down the stairs and sprang the same ankle that he broke last year.
*Day Four--Ellen was in a car accident and her car is totaled.
*Day Five--I go in for my hysterectomy. Oh, and by the way, we got a letter from the IRS. We are being audited for 2009 taxes. Woot woot.
*Day Six and Seven are pretty much a blur. I was under the influence of some wonderful pain medicine, while Ron spent his every waking moment dealing with all the fall-out from Ellen's accident, helping my parents, taking care of me, and running errands. Also on day six, my dad called. He fell and couldn't get up. He ended up hurting himself pretty badly and couldn't get around.
Meanwhile, Raechel made the goodies for our annual friendship treats---peppermint bark, cookies, fudge, and toffee. And pies, made with crust from scratch. Why? Because that's the way Grandma always did it, and by gosh by golly, we absolutely have to do it Grandma's way!!
*Day Eight--Christmas. The clouds had spent the week aligning themselves in what can only be described as the formation for the perfect storm. It was no surprise when the Christmas Express de-railed, and our Christmas dinner resembled what can only be referred to as, "a train wreck"!
*Losing count of the days---But now my dad is in the hospital. Ron spent the night before his trip to Tennessee being insulted by the paramedics who could not understand why Ron didn't know my father's complete medical history or why my parents are still living on their own without assistance (this after my dad canceled lifeline, which Ron had spent hours setting up for them). Raechel spent her last night of vacation caring for Grandma. Andrew spent his last night sitting in the ER with Grandpa.
So here we are, and Christmas vacation continues. I'm a little reluctant to think about what the next week will bring ;-)
Now then, I cannot leave it like this. In the end, even though this was undoubtedly the absolute worst Christmas we have ever had . . . it was also the best Christmas we ever had. Why? Because in spite of all the disasters, we saw and felt the hand of the Lord blessing us. Grandma is home, and doing well. Grandpa will be home tomorrow, and they have finally agreed to allow someone to come in help them. Marshall's cyst is not cancerous and he will heal in a few weeks. Ellen was not hurt in her accident (neither was anyone else). Taylor's leg is not broken and he does not need surgery. My surgery went well and I am healing. Our stocking tradition was a huge hit and everyone felt the love as we sat around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning and shared our gifts with each other. Best of all, is that my family . . . my parents and my children . . . now know how much Ron truly loves me. In the words of my very wise father, "Mindy, he's a keeper, for sure."
So, to my dear husband, your gift of service and loyalty during these past ten days, is the greatest gift a wife could ever ask for. I love you~!!
In short, these two pictures sort of sum of the tale of these two Christmases: