Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A most unusual Christmas time for the abitadeacon

With tonight being my last hours before I return to work (I have been off since December 16th) I thought why not share my Christmas reflections for now.  I said it has been unusual and here is why.  Until this year, Wendy and I have never left town for Christmas very close to the big day.  Yes we have been to North Carolina every December for the grandkids but we are usually back in town between the 15th and 20th at the latest.  This time, we arrived on the 17th and did not return home to late Thursday night, the 22nd.  I had no idea what precious little time that left us to prepare for dinner at my home, finishing my shopping and preparing for ministry assignments.  And let's throw in another complication, Wendy returns home sick and needs a visit to urgent care and her mom has been ill the whole time we've been gone.  So how did we do?  The results are a mixed bag at best!

I pretty much detailed previously all the happenings of our week with the grandkids so we pick up this saga on Friday, December 23rd.  Wendy heads off to urgent care and Mike goes about the business of doing his Christmas shopping.  I did good, gathering everything I needed for both Christmas and Wendy's birthday (it's on the 26th) in a matter of hours.  Upon my return home, Wendy informs me its a sinus infection and she is off to bed so we are going to do all our cleaning and cooking on the 24th, that's right; Christmas Eve.  First we had to cancel a scheduled dinner for Friday night with Wendy's side of the family.  Saturday dawned and Wendy was feeling much better (the miracle of steroids) and so we cleaned, cooked, and cleaned some more.  I mean all day, until it was time to leave for Mass as I was assigned the 6 pm vigil.  Now this is not the big vigil, that honor belongs to the 4 pm Mass with crowds lined up on the walls, SRO and even out the doors and onto the front steps.  The 6 pm is milder, still full but only about 300 as compared to almost 500 at 4.  Mass was beautifully celebrated and once over I was able to join Wendy and daughter Elizabeth for a quiet, peaceful Christmas Eve dinner at the local eatery.  But then the unusual, at about 9 in the evening on Christmas Eve we drive to Hammond, about 40 minutes away to pick up Wendy's mom so we can keep an eye on her and she can at least celebrate Christmas with others.  For the entire past week, she has been sick and feeling weak. 

Christmas Day dawned normal, turkey in the oven, presents exchanged and then off I go to assist at another Mass, our 10 am Mass.  On any other Sunday this is a very crowded Mass, not so today.  Still about 250 in attendance.  Sunday dinner with my family was very nice, all went off without a hitch, the food was good, conversation was good, no one insulted or killed one another and then off everyone goes.  And then the mother-in-law strikes, needed help to get in bed complaining of sickness, fever, profound weakness.  For Wendy, this means watching her mom off and on all night, no real rest for her.  Now the day after Christmas is Wendy's birthday, not necessarily the best day of the year for a birthday, but I had plans to make it nice.  Plans on hold, Wendy's mom is still here and still not right.  Fast forward to late last night, about 1:30 in the morning, and down goes the mother-in-law.  Yep, she takes a fall; breaks nothing, but Wendy and I cannot get her up.  Call 911 and they roll the ambulance.  Poor Wendy, no birthday, no rest and she is driving to the hospital at 230 in the morning.  And that's where we are today, on this Tuesday in the Christmas Octave.  My last day off attending to home chores and pre-back to work stuff as Wendy spends another day in hospital with her mom.

For us this is a first, having a close relative in the hospital during this holy season.  We realize though that so many others do go through this kind of distraction.  I guess it's what you make of it.  At the hour of this writing, we have no idea what is going on with Wendy's mom and no idea how much longer she will be hospitalized.  As for me, I know I have to get back to work tomorrow and am scheduled to be at the prison tomorrow night for regularly scheduled visit.  And I need to get busy because the Deacons are preaching this weekend too.

So this is all about being flexible, staying in the season and spirit of Christmas and staying calm.  It's indeed been a most unusual Christmas for the abitadeacon.

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