Our tree in 2011
I’m a little blue because we don’t have a tree again. It’s the third year in a row we haven’t put up the tree, but it’s also three years we’ve been at Pop’s on Christmas morning. I’ve enjoyed the pretty tree Aunt Judy does at their house. I’d still be in a happier Christmas mood if we had a tree at home. A lot of the worst things in our home are because of my disability. I was always the person who cleans up around the house, especially for the holidays, scrubbing up the kitchen before a huge baking week and arranging my “Santa-Nani’s Worksop” for gifts and such. Now that workshop decor is pretty much back to a bachelor pad motif. I’m not ripping on the former bachelor in the house - I’m lamenting my former elfen ability!
We did the tree with lights and a plush gold garland that Mom had gotten many years ago. It’s thick commercial grade; she’d talked a sales associate into selling it to her after Christmas one year. Every ornament on the tree had special meaning. There are ceramic angels from the formal pink and burgundy tree I had in my 20s, gorgeous porcelain angels Scotty’s family gave me and the glass ballerina Mom picked out because it reminded her of my dance days when I was a little girl. In a box next to the box with our tree are baseball ornaments for all three of our teams many cats and trains and gifts from friends. We have a special ornament for every year we’ve been together since 2005, including the photo the judge took of us on our wedding day in the 2008 frame ornament that says “our first married Christmas.” We picked out that ornament earlier in December when we didn’t even know for sure which day the picture would be taken. We’ve gotten an ornament for the last 2 years even though there was no tree but not for this year. I had said that if we didn’t put up the tree this year I wanted to get rid of it because all it was doing was taking storage space; But what I actually meant was I desperately wanted the tree and an ornament for this year.
My pink tree from the 80s/90s
Notice the same tree top?
We almost had a tree too. I had planned to drain the rest of my current savings to pay for a home heath aide (insurance doesn’t cover an aide) and I’d get things picked up and organized and we could have a tree. This year it’d probably be lights and garland, at least until we saw how Marco reacted. He’s 2-1/2 years old and has never seen a “cat-toy tree” or tried to climb one. But we’d fasten the tree to the wall with fishing wire like we did when Kaline still climbed. And my aide would help me with warping gifts and writing on tags. I was even dreaming about making a couple crostadas and a batch of gingerbread cookies. That’s a selfish me thing; I love my gingerbread cookies. But alas; no aide. I need help too bad to get help.
You see, I can't get out of the wheelchair on my own. Right now we’re working on getting a new chair that will have a lift, tilt forward, like our recliner, so I’m half standing, which is all I need to grab something and keep standing. But from this chair, I can sort of levitate my butt, but then someone needs to lift me to that level when\re I can grab something to finish standing. But in that in between, I need to really be supported and lifted up. If I was 145 pounds, which I’m not unless I’m asleep and having a very happy dream, for that lift, it’s over 50 pounds. 50 pounds is the limit of what an aide is allowed to lift. It’s for the safety of both the aide and me and I see and agree with that, but it means there won’t be an aide until I have a new chair and then only if it has that lift//tilt, which I’m told that insurance companies more often than not won’t cover. I did tell the new vendor we’re working with that the chair will have the lift and I’ll find a grant or a loan if it’s not approved.
So entering into 2016 there is a lot to look forward to. Everything that has dragged on and on this year has the potential to become a bountiful blossom next year. No matter what it takes, I’ll have the chair that better suits the way I use it. With the lift, I’ll be able to transfer without putting so much stress on my caregiver. That means I’ll be able to have an aide. I’ve applied for a grant for that and have an application for another one too. I hope I can at least have someone in a couple times week to help me get in and out the shower and some housekeeping assistance. And NEXT year I’ll have Christmas Tree and a happier holiday season. Next year I’ll bring a crostada to Christmas morning festivities and I’ll make a batch of gingerbread bats.
Now, DON’T WORRY. I’m still more happy than glum and I bounce back well when I'm sad. I find great joy in giving and I’ve sent a few gifts to friends I don’t trade holiday gifts with. I haven't been out much, so I haven’t gotten to pick up a stranger’s coffee or even lunch bill, but when a friend I haven’t seen in a few years ends a “thank you” with “you shouldn’t have, but I’m so glad you did” it feels awesome.