Tuesday, December 24, 2013

new traditions

Yesterday I booked movie tickets online for Christmas day. Nope, never did think I’d do that. This is the year of new traditions; the first year we will not gather with the Lamarre family at the brick house. Greg and the girls and I have been batting around ideas for months now, since my siblings and I agreed to have our gathering the weekend before Christmas. At first we planned to travel. The extra long school break made it a good year for a trip. But, then I scheduled my surgery for the week before Christmas and didn’t want to lock us into anything in case I wasn’t up to it. (Good call, turns out.)

So, Saturday we gathered with my brothers and sisters and their families for a wonderful holiday. Tonight we’ll head over to Greg’s parents’ house to spend time with his family. And in the morning, after opening presents and feasting on a big Christmas breakfast we have the day to ourselves. We’ve decided on a family walk on one of the great little trails in town, followed by that movie in the afternoon, The Hobbit.

Next year, we’ll likely take a trip. Or host some friends. Or go visiting.

This year we’re easing in to a new tradition of being with our own little family, taking our time, and enjoying the day.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Asking for help

It frustrated me when my mother would worry about “being a burden”. If we correctly anticipated ways she might need us, she would allow us to help, usually while assuring us we “didn’t have to” or worrying that we were neglecting our own families in favor of her. If we were not perceptive enough to predict when she would need us, she almost never asked. We tried to convince her that it was a joy and honor to help the woman who nurtured us through childhood, because truthfully, it was.  I feel truly blessed to have been able to give my meager support in the last years of her life.

I’m thinking of this because I need help and I don’t like it. I can’t drive because the splint goes over my elbow. I can do many things one handed, but more slowly and awkwardly. I can’t carry the laundry basket downstairs, nor get myself to the salon for a haircut, nor cut and clean the squash for soup, nor scrub the shower. I feel like a burden. I hate asking for help and don’t do it often.

My limitations are temporary. In a week I’ll get a new cast that will probably give me more freedom; and a month after that I should be free of a cast altogether. In the meantime, I need to practice asking for help, remembering how good it felt to help Mom.