Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Lists

Ever since I can remember, my family has created Christmas lists, and assigned each person an "angel" who would help coordinate gifts. The week after Thanksgiving, my dad would painstakingly (but lovingly) create a sheet for each person complete with a hand-drawn image at the top that reflected something personal about that person. For example, one year during my cycling days, he drew me (well, a stick figure) riding my bike up a hill with a Santa hat on. Now that we are in the digital age, my dad's creativity is found in the vivid imagery of an annual email announcing our family "angel" tradition. This year's was especially tongue in cheek, with dad (aka Ho Ho Ho Rodgers) posting a job listing for S. Claus Enterprises complete with job qualifications and compensation! Note that for those of us trying to find a job- it's a cold, cold world out there, but we can still laugh a little.

I've always loved Christmas. My parents weren't ones to spoil us with material gifts throughout the year, but they really blew it out at Christmas. The number of gifts bordered on obscene. But I loved it! I'd spend hours pouring over the toy section of the Sears catalogue (now I am aging myself), even going so far as writing down the page and item number for toys, dolls and even microscopes (I realize I am 1. a total nerd & 2. very anal). The scene still plays out today, though now I love shopping for gifts, always going way over budget.

It's hard to believe that this year is only the second Christmas that Dan & I will celebrate together. Last year we had so much fun cutting down our own Christmas tree (which required 2 different trips to the farm & Dan's realization that we don't have room for a 10 foot tree), finding creative gifts, going ice skating, heading downtown to look at the lights, and my favorite- creating a "25 days of giving" with our advent calendar. We bought a wooden "calendar" for the month of December that had compartments for each day. We filled it with notes- some were silly (aforementioned ice skating), some were about giving (donating items to Goodwill) and some were personal (writing a letter). It was fun trying to outdo each other, and it made our Christmas so special.

This year, we need a little Christmas... a lot of Christmas, actually. We've been getting knocked down a lot lately-physically & mentally. Even with the positive scan results, Dan's cough seems to be coming back the past couple of days. Living with the cough, and overall illness day in & day out is traumatic for both of us. The moments of normalcy go by so quickly sometimes. Take this morning- Dan gave a speech at a local high school who is raising money for NCCF. An hour later, he was wiped & feeling ill. It's a constant up and down battle. I hate to use words like that- battle- because it seems cliche. But it really is a battle- not only for health, sanity & sleep, but also for the normalcy we crave so much.

But cancer can't take away Christmas. In fact, it will make it even better to celebrate its true meaning. I'm having a really tough time coming up with anything to put on my list this year because the things I want don't come wrapped with a bow. Last year, Santa brought me Peace, Joy, Love & Hope... all in Dan. Those things are all still here, but we haven't been spending enough time reminding ourselves of them. So this year, I'd just like a little time to relax & enjoy it- kick back with the Griswalds & our moose mugs in our bright sweaters and get back to normal.

However, if someone also wants to give me a job, that would be cool, too ;)


Anonymous said...

I didn't realize Dan was giving a speech at a high school today about his journey and NCCF. That is fantastic. NCCF is starting to get its name out there more and more - very impressive. Keep on truckin' Dan.

The holidays are a time for hope!


I love the Griswolds!

Anonymous said...

All I can say from your latest post, Meg and Dan, is that you two surely deserve some peace, good health, hope, normalcy, and lots of love. That is surely what I, and I know many others, are wishing you. If we all could wrap those wishes up in a pretty box and deliver it to you both--we would. But know that though there is no wrapped box, there are lots of prayers and wishes coming to you from our hearts to yours. Your "Big Girl" Christmas list says it all, Meghan, just know that we care and understand and hope that your get everything on your wish list this year--you both surely deserve it. Paula