I hope you all have had amazing holidays and are ready to round out the year well. It’s a crazy time of year and so difficult for so many. I know our local hospitals’ ICUs are full to the brim with COVID cases and our community has just lost two kids in separate ATV accidents. Sadness in the midst of happy.
Our family is dealing with cleaning out my mom’s condo so we can sell it to pay for her care in a memory care unit for her Alzheimer’s. We also have to constantly face this “new mom” who is no longer the strong and in-control woman we have known all of her life.
Cleaning out the condo has taught us that things are just not all that important, though also how we attach memories to things. We all have said “I have no more room for anything” but go home with our cars full.
It will mean I have to get rid of other things, since I have limited room, but I am good with that. A lot of what I have taken is practical. I get her vacuum, for example, and took her mixer. I Gabe a friend mine because I hated that the head if it would not go back. It was the top of the line, but messed up my baking flow. Mom’s is way better for me. Let that batter drip!
I tend to look at things a bit differently than Mom did. In some ways Mom was less sentimental than me. For example, she put the first Christmas ornaments she and Dad ever bought into a yard sale at her church. I still mourn their loss.
But I took a bread plate that has been in our family for over 200 years. Gorgeous pottery. Mom only used it for decoration. I am already planning to serve something on it at family dinners. Oh, it may not make it out of my generation intact, but it will be used. We need to use our stuff and not enshrine it.
As for spending time with Mom, it’s an exercise in getting to know this new person that appears every day. Still, it’s a beautiful thing to see my family care for her, especially the sweetness of her grandchildren and great grandchildren. My niece bought a tablecloth that had drawings all over it you color. Four generations colored on that tablecloth.
I took a cruise after Thanksgiving. People have said that they are surprised I would put myself at risk that way. I felt there was less risk than living in my mask-averse hometown.
Only a maximum of five percent on the ship could travel unvaccinated and I understand most of those who were approved were children. Then within two days of boarding, you had to have a negative COVID test (four days for the unvaccinated, who had to have a PCR test). People were supposed to wear masks indoors and most did.
But I understand there were some who tested positive on our cruise, based on people in a Facebook group I am in. The cruise director supposedly told people in a session one of the last days that no one on the cruise had it. That was not true. What’s the point of that? People get complacent if they feel there is no risk.
Our ship is one of many now showing as being investigated by the CDC. Yes, this info is online and easily accessed.
I still think the cruise line did a good job trying to reduce risk. I only blame them for not being up front about what was really going on. My friend who went with me got an upper respiratory infection on the trip and finally went to the ship’s doctor. The first thing they did was a COVID test (she was negative.) They were vigilant but some did test positive and that should have been public knowledge.
Yes, I’d do it again even knowing what I know now. We socialized with our tablemates at meals, but I’m not a big activities person so spent a lot of time finding a quiet place to read. There was a deck for those 21 and up and it was amazing. Comfy furniture and mostly sober people since there was no bar and waiters were rarely coming by, so it was more quiet than other decks. I spent a lot of time there. It was a wonderful haven.
Back in Statesville, I came back to celebrate Christmas. I enjoyed the downtown shop and stroll, with the horse drawn carriages. One raised money for Purple Heart Homes, a charity for veterans based here in Statesville, They do great work and are nationally recognized.
The local balloonists put on an impromptu glow for our town, It was a beautiful event, collecting food for a local food pantry. There were traffic issues, as is often the case in our town, so many did not get in. Some complained, but what was cool to me were those who said “We still had fun with each other and love that the event occurred, even though we didn’t get to see it.” Yes, that’s the spirit! Let your kids see that attitude.
And that’s the big message of the season. Happiness is external and our circumstances often make us unhappy. People also make us unhappy. So much makes us unhappy. But joy comes from the inside out. No one can steal that away from you without your permission and it makes everything in life so much better.
So for this week and the years coming, I wish you joy. Exercise it and make sure it stays strong, so when the tough times come you celebrate life anyway.
And watch the complaining. It’s contagious.