A Toast to Christmas 2014
Posted on December 26, 2014
A lot of us are sitting here tonight, some maybe sipping a glass of wine or others zonking out and getting ready to go to bed. I am in the “sipping a glass of wine” crowd and enjoying the peace and quiet of Christmas night. All the pressure of working so that everyone might have a great Christmas is now gone for another year. I can say that the changes that happened to our family gatherings for this Christmas were a cause for stress. It was the first big change in almost 20 years. I so love the fact that my Daddy was a Marine. He taught me a ton about “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome” so while part of me was dreading the change, the other part knew that this too, would be okay. Sure enough, it went pretty well. Close enough to perfect and anything we might want to tweak can be done next year.
I must admit that I did have a couple of panic attacks while I was out finishing up some quick shopping but Bella was there for me. Costco had a fantastic ham for reasonable money and I went to Whole Foods for our grain-fed turkey which cost around $25.00. Both the ham and turkey were really tasty and all the food managed to get out and off of the stove about the same time and tasting great. As a brain injured cook, I would like to have a big “hi-five” for all of us that had to pull that number off. No one knows how hard it is until they have to do it. I am thankful that as the years have passed they have helped me learn better brain injury coping skills. When I first got my brain injuries, I was told that at the end of a year, any improvement in my cognitive abilities would be as much as I could get back. I refused to accept that and “Ta Dah!” I was right. Now we know that the brain can continue in many ways to improve, adapt and change to help us cope with injuries that seemed overwhelming at the time. It is a slow process but at least it is one that can give bits of improvement as time and healing continues.
For those who had a wonderful Christmas time and everything was great, I am so happy for you. For those that had changes to adapt and adjust to, I am hoping that all did work out and go well. If it did, give yourself a pat on the back. If you think it did not go well, pat yourself on the back anyway. Forget blaming yourself. It is a waste of time to think that you failed because you have the idea that you could have worked harder, bought better gifts, been nicer, etc. Those kind of thoughts are what I call “Devil’s Confetti”. If he tosses enough of it around, nothing will look or feel great. Whether you were by yourself or with others, you were there and that is all that matters. For years I always judged myself much harder than others when it came to making everyone happy at Christmas. Finally breaking free of “other people’s expectations” was the best thing that ever happened to me. It took work and time but I learned that if I have done the best job I can and I am happy with what I have done, that is confirmation that I have done well. If anyone thinks different then they might want to rethink their expectations. There will always be people who think the icing should have been sweeter, the presents bigger and the food selections more ample. That’s life.
This Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were filled with times that I took moments to praise and thank God for all the experiences during this year that have left me changed in some ways, but stronger. Nothing that is meant for our destruction can happen as long as we remember that there is a higher positive power in charge of what we have to face. For me, it is my dear Father God. He has helped me learn how to take each day as a new opportunity to grow in wisdom. Sometimes the lessons are painful, but again, that’s living life. For the most part, lots of the lessons that life tosses us involve meeting new people and finding out you have a new friend. New friends mean that you can have new experiences in stuff that you might not have tried before. That’s how I wound up running four marathons and a bunch of other races. Oh that was something. I started out running to one mail box and then walking for the next two and then running to the next one and then back to walking. Within a year and a half, I ran my first Marine Corps Marathon. My favorite qu0te I have heard many times over is “one day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. I can do anything for “x” number of minutes.” I love that saying!
As the featured image for this article, I chose our Son hugging his Dad. These moments are precious and their memory recalled will grow sweeter with every year that passes. Merry Christmas to you all and to all tonight, sleep well and enjoy your wonderful new day tomorrow!