I'll get more excerpts to you soon, but today, we shall take a break to discuss Christmas instead. Christmas cannot be ignored!
Things have gone pretty close to normal today as far as Christmas goes; my family gathered at one grandparents' house for breakfast (Mom's side of the family) and the other for lunch and probably supper (Dad's side). There's one crucial difference from the norm that makes this year feel off: Mimi is in the hospital.
Mimi is my mother's mother. She got sick this year on March 1st, and hasn't been back to normal since. It started with fluid in her lungs, and since then she's had good days and bad days. She has been back and forth from home to the hospital again, and even when she is home, someone else has to be there with her at all times to keep an eye on her and Papaw.
Mimi has five children, and only two of them stay with her regularly. One of the other girls barely does anything, another only pitches in by staying with Papaw when Mimi's in the hospital, and the 'boy' helps out by taking care of Papaw's cows, land, farm equipment, and whatever other outdoor work is needed.
Sometimes, this arrangement is fine. Other times, it feels like a real pain, as selfish as that may sound. My mom is one of the two that stays with Mimi and Papaw constantly, and her husband and three children miss her. The house just doesn't run smoothly without her around, and even if it did, it doesn't feel the same without her. However, we all understand why all this work is necessary, and we do our best to make do.
I've stayed with Mimi more recently (up until Christmas Eve, which was the night she was admitted back into the hospital). Many times up until now, she's been overcome with sadness and self-pity about her predicament, which I definitely can't blame her for. She can't walk to the bathroom without losing her breath, and she doesn't enjoy the breathing treatments that she has to do at least once every day. She told me that she wishes that she could make food and do other things for people for Christmas, but that she "just isn't worth anything these days". It's rough on her, that's for sure. I reminded her that she's surrounded by people who love her and who will take care of things like that. I also pointed out that she raised all of her children to be capable of those things, that she had done a good job. She did smile at that. "Yes, I did raise them to be able to do things," she said.
I've noticed that her outlook is improving a lot. Lately, she seems happier much more often. Even though she's in the hospital today, she seems to be in good spirits. She talked to everyone gathered at her house via phone this morning. We set aside a lot of the presents, and we aren't going to open them until she's back.
Then we'll have Christmas all over again, for her.