It started Christmas Eve. There were some errands to run and we were going out to dinner. It rained on our anniversary and David and I decided to have an earlier dinner on Christmas Eve rather than me venturing out in my chair in the rain. Even with an umbrella, there is much more of you exposed to the rain in a wheelchair than there is standing up. So we were going out after David’s afternoon “commitment.” It wasn’t a train or poker and he wouldn’t tell me details, so I figured the “commitment” was something for me.
Well, the time for that commitment came and David was still home. He told me the time had been pushed back a little later. He started cleaning up some things in the living room where I had been cleaning little by little but he's capable of picking it up much faster. I was thinking to myself that helping with that was an awesome gift in itself. He works full time and when he’s home, taking cafe of all the things I can’t do is a full time job. I don’t remember exactly what I asked, but his answer included that he was clearing out space because Mike was coming over and they were putting up a tree.
He’d read the blog post I did about being sad that I wouldn’t have an aide yet to help me clean up the living room and it’d be the third year without a tree. He wanted to give me a tree for Christmas Eve. Mike, who is allergic to cats, drugged himself up with allergy meds and came over. He and David put up the tree with lights, garland and the tree skirt and angel on top, just like I was planning to do.
My other happy Christmas tears from gifts I received came on Christmas Day. We did name drawing for our family gift exchange on Christmas morning. Tori drew my name. I had already said I was prepared for a warm and fuzzy gift. She “owed me tears” after the books I’d done for the girls when they turned 18. I got my gift and opened Catopoly, the cat version of Monopoly. After 21 years, she knows me well! I was anxious to play the game. I was surprised there wasn’t a mushy gift after all. But then there was a second smaller box. The second box was the tears box.
When the girls were learning to talk, they had 2 names to learn in their world that were similar. They had Aunt Nanette, with vowel sounds similar to “baguette,” and Aunt Nani, rhymes with “Donny.” For a while we were both “Nana,” like the end of “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin’.” As their ability to better grspthe vowel sounds improved, Nanette became Aunt Nanette, but part because Nana and Nani sound so similar and part because they saw me more often and had been calling me Nana all along, I stayed Nana. It’s the same as my Aunt Raffaella has always been Auntie to me and still is. That’s what makes her MY aunt, and so my name, Nana, is with the girls.
My last happy Christmas tears came when we got home Christmas night. Edna spoiled me with a couple of boxes. One was a sort of stocking in a box with wrapped presents that included one that felt like it must be a neck warmer like the ones I knew she was making for Christmas gifts. I opened that last because I love hand-made gifts and I expected that would be the special gift I’d want to open as the finale of the box.
So those were my smiling Christmas tears. I like to give gifts that are special; something the receiver wouldn't normally buy for themselves but would enjoy or something that just jumps out and makes me think of them or something I create. I like to give gifts that are memorable or memories in themselves. That’s because of how wonderful it feels to receive gifts liken that. This year I had three of them that felt beyond that emotional bar I set for myself as a giver. The friends and relatives that are my famiy are just awesome. I love you guys!