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Friday, December 26, 2008


I think it should be a rule that every parent gets at least one perfect Christmas. Perfect is probably not the right word, maybe magical is a better one. I think we had that this year, but to fully appreciate how great this year was, I think it is helpful to go back a few years. If I am honest with myself the most magical Christmas I can think of (before this one) was when Tate was 2 1/2. He got a train table for Christmas and the look of pure joy and ecstasy on his face was just priceless. But as I think about it in my mind the reason why it is so vivid to me is because Jon captured it on video and has made a home movie with that clip in it. I'm sure the next Christmas was just as magical. It was a time of innocence for all of us. It was just our little family of four and there was no way to know cancer was just around the corner. Tate got a fire truck and Cale a garbage truck and Santa could not have picked out finer gifts. I will just have to wait a year or so before that Christmas can be as magical in my memory because it might take Jon that long to make another video! But Christmas two years ago was right after Jon's diagnosis and right before his transplant. It was certainly a sweet and special Christmas, but also a very heavy one. Jon's responses on Christmas morning went something like this..."Oh this is just what I wanted, sheets that are much better than hospital sheets, and I've always dreamed of a hypoallergenic pillow, and these pants are so wonderful I think they will prevent me from getting bed sores!" Last year was I think the worst Christmas we have ever had. There was a lot of stress in the air with Jon trying to buy his practice (leases are important if you want someone to lend you some money), he had undiagnosed pneumonia, he was drugged up on super doses of prednisone, and he started a new medication on Christmas day that he was extremely allergic to and was so sick. It only rubbed salt in the wound to realize that the retail cost of that medicine was $2500--that is $83/teaspoon/day (thank goodness for insurance). To make matters worse, Santa totally missed the boat. I'll never forget Tate trying to be so happy as he is slipping and falling trying to ride his bike in 3 inches of snow. So this year we were shooting for a little something different for Christmas. Jon's Dad and Uncle have been working building a cabin for the last almost 8 years and this is the first year that it is really livable. It is also the first time anyone has attempted to spend 3 days there in the winter time! We had to drive the snow cat in and I followed behind on a snowmobile. We left on the afternoon of the 23rd and got all settled that night. We woke up to a winter wonderland. After breakfast we got all suited up and went sledding till we couldn't walk up any more hills. When that happened, Jon hopped on the snowmobile and towed Tate and I in the toboggan sled all over. It was so fun. We had no phone service and no electricity unless the generator was on so we got to make snow flakes, play Sliders Sorry, make cookies for Santa and drink plenty of cocoa. It was a magical day. My favorite part of Christmas day was before we went downstairs to the Christmas tree. Santa comes in the middle of the night and changes the kids pajamas to Christmas pj's while they are sleeping. This was a new tradition I hadn't heard of till I married Jon. I was a bit skeptical of them waking up, but that hasn't been a problem and my kids are just thrilled about it! They wake up and have on new jammies and it is the beginning of a magical day. Back to my favorite part...We all slept upstairs and when everyone woke up they jumped in our bed, were thrilled about their jammies and that it meant Santa had come. It was a moment filled with childhood anticipation, "Merry Christmases", and "I love yous." That will have to be a part of our Christmas traditions every year. It was just a really sweet day with nothing to do except to play and sled from sun up to sun down. For a little while I thought that maybe you have to go away to a cabin with tons of snow for such a fulfilling Christmas. You can't attempt too hard at creating a perfect Christmas because it becomes too stressful and forced, it just has to happen. After everyone hears how great Christmas was at the cabin, it won't be our turn again for 6-7 years. But then I thought about what was so great about it and it was that it was simple, all done in advance and focused on each other. Just about a week ago we found "THE" house for us and I'm already excited to have Christmas there and start Christmas memories in our new home. I also think that because there was such deep sorrow in our lives for so long, we now have the capacity to feel that much more joy. My heart is overflowing! I am just awed at all of our many blessings, and to have found the right house for us after a year of looking and being patient, it all seems complete.

My favorite lines from the boys:
Cale: We are divvying up costumes and parts for acting out the Nativity and Cale says, "Can I be Yoda?" To give us the benefit of the doubt, one of the shepherd costumes was Cale's yoda costume. I can only hope he was referring to the costume and not the character!!

Tate: The water situation is a bit tricky and so if you are a boy you do outside what you can. So his grandma asked him if he was whizzing straight so he didn't pee on the generator. He replied "Yeah, unless I wag it."... Complete with actions. Oh boy.