Posted by: sistermom1 | January 28, 2011

Reflecting on the Holiday

Last year I wrote about the holiday season that I experienced and the guilt I felt about not being able to be more helpful during our traditional family celebration.  It was a battle between my own definition of an ideal holiday and the reality of what I was able to do now that I am wheelchair-bound.  This year, as I reflect upon the Christmas season of 2010, I am struck by how wonderful it was, and also what a different experience it was.

This year, as we prepared for our three-day Christmas celebration (I call it Christmas-palooza), I worried about how I could help, and how my children could be helpful in making things happen when I could not.  Coming face-to-face again with my many limitations really does not make me feel strong, or in charge of anything significant.  I struggle with managing my own expectations of myself, and tend to live in the space between what used to be and what is now.

In the midst of a lot of self-reflection (and lots of self-flaggelation) I has a conversation with my mother, who always hosts everyone for Christmas Eve dinner.  As our discussion came to an end, she mentioned that she had met someone who was able to help pull everything together during our holiday celebration.  This was a young woman who worked full-time at a major hotel in the Banquet Department who was interested in making a little extra money.  She said she was hesitant to bring it up, because she thought that I might be uncomfortable with it.  

To Mom’s surprise, I was happy and excited (dare I say – relieved?) for us to have this kind of help — even if it had to be paid for.  (She is a professional after all!)  I was so encouraged that we would have someone to help with the little (and big) details of a seated meal for our family, that I volunteered to pay her.  A small gesture, but one that communicated how pleased I was with the idea.

So how was it? FABULOUS!!!!!

Mom was so relieved that I was OK with having help.  She had worried that I would feel badly or worse yet, feel guilty about not being able to help.  I am learning how to let go of my ego and remember what is really impotant about the holidays.  I have seen that it does not matter exactly what needs to be done and exactly how it gets done.  What matters most is that we actually enjoy the time that we spend together, regardless of what we actually did.  That I did this specific thing or not really was unimportant.  I had to let go of my image of what a good daughter should do (based on the past), and really be honest with myself and my family about what I could do (in the present).  

Being OK and doing my best within a realistic range of the more limited options of things I am able to do has been a big step for me.  Reconciling those things made this holiday season very special.  It was an enjoyable time filled with love, happiness, and togetherness.  Our children were wonderfully helpful and a great joy during this meaningful time, and my husband and I enoyed a special time of love and closeness.  What a great way to end 2010, and to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve!



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