Friday, December 23, 2011
a stockingful of thanks
this morning, while standing at the refrigerator filling up c's cup with water, i gazed out the window at the freshly falling snow and suddenly felt very nostalgic. this year, as with every year, my one true wish is for a white family christmas. and, as with every year, i will have my family christmas with or without the fluffy white stuff. but to see it falling silently around our home with us cozy inside, i felt ever-so thoughtful of the years i have cherished our white christmases here in maine. the new snow takes me back to the past years of snow and how much joy it brought me as a child. my brother and i spent hours in it, freezing our fingers and toes off, drenched with it as it melted through our winter clothing. often we would come inside merely to toast ourselves by the woodstove, dry out our mittens, hats, and boots, only to strap them back on (sometimes still damp) and head back out into our winter wonderland.
but this year, this year the snow brings so much more than just the memory of my childhood. as the water in c's cup neared it's brim, i suddenly had the thought of how thankful i am for my parents and the relationship i've attained with them. this year was not incredibly easy, and this month was a tough one for my father. having a progressed form of basal cell skin cancer, the only remedy was to remove his nose and construct a new one from the tissue in his cheeks. with this overwhelming physical change in place for himself, i worried that it would be extremely difficult for him to see a silver lining through the stitches. i say this with a supreme amount of gratefulness that he has found a way to begin overcoming what i can only imagine is a difficult transition. for days after the surgery, before i was able to visit with him, i tried to put myself in his shoes. how would i feel if, only after being deemed cancer free, my next battle was one with my own facial reconstruction and recovery? i can't pretend i didn't shed a vast amount of tears over the matter. naturally he will always be my dad no matter what he looks like, so my concern was not for his appearance but for how he would emotionally heal from the surgery. when i finally got to visit with him, i was quite impressed with the work his surgeons had done. sure, it's not the same nose or face i have known my whole life, but the results were far better than i had mentally prepared myself for. i did, however try to take into consideration that he may not feel the same way and it was his right to feel down about it if that was the case. his face was swollen and stitched in many places, but i could still see the man i have known since birth amid it all. and on wednesday the stitches were removed, with confirmation from my mom by phone, and my dad's joking banter in the background, that his face is beginning to look much better and is on it's way to healing well. it will take up to a year before it fully heals, but slow and steady wins the race, as they do say.
having a such a man as my father in my life is nothing short of a blessing. when i try to think of words to describe him, i generally can only reference a feeling; warm. warm in the way a big blanket shields one from the cold, the way a roaring fire relaxes the soul or a hot cup of coffee chases away a sleepy morning, warm in the utmost comforting way. please do not mistake warm to mean soft, though. sure, my dad has his soft spots for his kids and his grandson, but there was no lacking the shiver up my spine as a rebellious teen when the phrase 'just wait 'til your father gets home' was uttered. in passing through my teen years and realizing that fighting with my parents is not as much fun as laughing with them, i came to very much respect my father and mother's strict rules. now i see just what i, and my son, would be missing if my relationship had not done an about-face and become so strong. seeing my dad with little beaz reminds me of just how great i had it and just how great our sweet boy has it to be a part of our family.
with dad's surgery and the many hours spent stressing over christmas gifts and financial what-have-you's now behind me, the eve of the eve is upon us and i am ready to relax and welcome christmas day with a smile. this year our darling boy will be able to open gifts, laugh with his cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, and take in the full effect of this holiday with our family. so this year in my stocking i know just what to expect: thankful thoughts, loving wishes, and happy memories to last a lifetime.
may you and yours find the same peace and love this season and all of the rest to come.