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Monday, December 24, 2012

Advent Calendars Activate!


Each Christmas as our son gets older, he outgrows some traditions. Gone are the days of writing letters to Santa and putting out milk and cookies on Christmas Eve. However, I was surprised this year that he still wanted an Advent calendar. After Thanksgiving, he insisted on picking out a calendar that would offer the best chocolate. Usually, his criteria are how large the calendar is and if the days are mixed up, making it more challenging to find the correct day, I suppose. Then December 1, he starts the countdown to Christmas, with a daily chocolate treat. He’ll sometimes make a comment on the shape of the candy, for instance “What does a mushroom have to do with Christmas?” I guess you’re never too old for chocolate!
Whoever thought of the Advent calendar was very clever. This simple concept of counting the days until Christmas, partnered with a sweet treat taught our son patience.  For an early age, he didn’t complain that the days weren't flying by until Christmas. He actually looked forward to each day’s door, with the knowledge Christmas is getting closer.
Towards the end, he’ll notice that there are only 24 sections of the calendar and each year he asks what about the chocolate on the 25th? We explain that the whole purpose of the calendar is counting the days until Christmas, which is the payoff.  We also remind him we told him the same thing last year. He answers he knows, but would like a door for Christmas anyway. Since none of the calendars offer this feature, we make up for it by having his stocking filled with chocolates.  Yeah, I know we’ve got sucker written on our foreheads!! However, until he outgrows this tradition, it’s worth it!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Running the good race


Navigating through trying to figure out my husband’s ailments is a struggle. With all the doctors’ visits, the waiting for appointments, thinking it’s been figured out but then finding us going back to the drawing board is frustrating.
Sometimes it’s like I’m running in a marathon. In my mind’s eye, I can see the finish line just a few feet ahead of me. As I am about to cross it, the officials appear out of nowhere and grab the finish line and take off with it, moving it further along to where I can barely see the waving banner.  I stop in my tracks, sweat poring off of my brow, completely out of breath, I am utterly defeated.
As I’m bent over, staring at my blistering feet, I see a brief glimpse of how far I have run.  I straighten up, trying to catch my breath. Some runners whiz past me, but some stop to point out the first aid station to get patched up. As I go to it, I’m met with cups of water on the side lines. As I drink down the refreshment, I quit hearing my heartbeat thudding in my ears. I become aware of the music being piped in, Miley Cyrus’ The Climb. I also hear the cheering of the crowd, encouraging me to press on.
I also realize that the marathon is not a competition, just because some runners cross the finish line, it is their own accomplishment. Each runner has their own prize, so I can celebrate their victories without it taking anything away.
What I thought was my finish line was a check point, getting me closer to my goal. My marathon may take sudden different paths, maybe I need to run the same course again but with different terrain.  I notice that I’m developing a runner’s body, my muscles and endurance are getting stronger. What used to be devastating to me is just an emotional “owie”.
As I pick up my pace, I hear another inspirational song Billy Joel’s You’re Only Human (Second Wind). I see that my sponsor outfit is not as faded and wrinkled; its colors are vibrant, reminding me why I’m in the marathon in the first place.