The Christmas, Solstice, Yule, etc. cards with letters have begun arriving in the mail as 2009 begins to wind down. It's been quite a year, here at the Aerie. Our 29 year-old daughter has been keeping up the fight with Lyme disease and co-infections called Babesia and Bartonella. First we thought it would be a sprint, then we slowed our pace for a marathon. Over eleven years later, we accept and live with chronic Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. We try our best to help others get educated and proactive in dealing with Lyme, leaning-in to support those just finding themselves caught in the surreal landscape of medical systemic denial.
Like everyone else in this out of balance economy, we suffered losses and pulled together as a family does. The good side of this meant that my son came from New York, in August, to live with us. I didn't realise how tired I was as a caregiver, until my son came and immediately pitched-in to help. We lived with post-it notes on every cupboard and drawer in the kitchen for a while, but he re-organised my kitchen so that it all works better. These sort of skills apparently come with left brain ability! He's also a wonderful cook...and man, did I need a cook this year.
You see, coming from a Brit line, and hitting the bumpy desert of just-past-middle-age, I have been leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail of broken teeth and crumbling bones...thinking I might find my way back when I escape from this old woman who ate me! Eating became a difficult thing and the pounds began to drop. I felt like I could've been run up a flagpole to flutter in the breeze...like the sky was falling and I didn't have the energy to yell about it...at the same time, everyone was telling me just how wonderful I looked. I'm so grateful for someone who not only reminds me to eat, but also cooks and goes out of his way to find dishes that might bring out an appetite in both his mum and sister.
A daughter I borrowed and love so much, this year married the man she loves and expanded our family yet again. She works to be a moving force for good in the world (as so many of the kids who have been through my home are working) whirling between western and eastern hemispheres. It's been a while since I held her in my arms. So it goes...our hearts know how to stay in touch.
Rajani, my black shepherd/lab grandogger is now sixteen months and weighs a muscular eighty-nine pounds. We've all put our individual work in to be good pack leaders and she has responded in such a wonderful way. She makes an incredible companion and therapy dog for Anna. My daughter is quite the 'Dog Whisperer' herself and brings out the best in her Rajani. It's natural, seeing as we descended from wolves. The Quileute tribe also believes this, so I hope they will accept me into the country.
Right now the bustle is about decorating the Aerie for the Holidays. Front and centre is the new-used couch. Cue the Heavenly Chorus...for this be the couch I have searched years for, with no star to guide me or budget for the price-range of my dreams! Behold, it was in the Goodwill for less than two hundred dollars! So bloweth my whole seasonal shopping budget. Thankfully my family has never been caught-up in the consumer aspect of any holiday or ceremony. But, oh honey...this couch! It's the size of a day bed, so Anna could be really comfortable in the living room...guests sink into it and can't leave...and I get to take afternoon naps, covered by whatever sunbeams come through my window on a winter's afternoon. It is a dark tapestry of deliciousness.
This year, for the first time in twelve years, we have both son and daughter under our roof. Together we'll see in 2010 (by the way, I've decided to call it "twenty-ten." Feel free to weigh-in on what you will call it) with fireworks around the bay, fireworks on the telly, playing some Rummy 500 around Anna's bed, eating lovely (soft) snacks and enjoying one another's company. The comfort that is with us, now that's the best present our family ever made.
Wishing you all the warmth and comfort of loving family at this festive time for so many. Cheers to a New Year...hope to see you here, in our cyberspace neighbourhood!