My mother is back in the hospital, this time due to a bedsore wound after nurses at her latest “uncaring” center didn’t carefully follow doctors’ orders for her care. She should be out in a few days, but in the meantime, my family took Christmas to her this year since she couldn’t join us for a party at Chez Moi.
Normally, I would have felt down about celebrating in a hospital room with my mom hooked up to a wound vac and an antibiotics IV, but since last month she wasn’t expected to see another Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas, it didn’t seem like a terrible problem to have.
My husband and two teenagers helped haul presents, a pan of homemade lasagna, bottles of sparkling pomegranate juice, cups of creme brûlée, plates, cups, knives and forks and a DVD of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” up to her room and we gathered around her bedside for the second time in five weeks to honor our matriarch and our family traditions. Only this time, the mood was decidedly more festive than at Thanksgiving, when we’d all struggled to keep from crying while raising our glasses in salute to say our goodbyes.
There were wide smiles all around on Christmas night, especially from my mother, who excitedly opened the gifts my children had wrapped (a sapphire blue sweater to match her eyes, a cozy nightgown splashed with pink and red roses, a pair of silver Celtic heart earrings and an “IOU” for the bottle of her favorite “Joy” perfume that hadn’t yet arrived) and exclaimed with each one how it was exactly what she’d always wanted.
Once the wrapping paper and bows were cleared off the bed, my mom looked at me with teary eyes: “But I have nothing for you.”
Silence filled the room for a moment as we all thought the same thing, and then I said it aloud: “You ARE our gift. None of us could have hoped for a better Christmas present.” I gingerly worked my way around the multiple lines hooked to her body to give her a kiss, and then we enjoyed our dessert while watching the Charlie Brown show that my mom introduced me to in 1965.
As jazzy “Linus and Lucy” piano music filled the room, I wiped away a few tears of my own and realized that a couple of my favorite old sentiments really are true. It’s not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.
Be where you are. ☺️💕💕