I have to type this fast before my kid throws up again.
I should be using my time to make cinnamon rolls since Christmas is tomorrow, but cinnamon rolls require standing, and OMG I JUST WANT TO SIT A MINUTE.
Our Christmas isn’t going according to plan.
It’s OK. Truly. I’ve been doing this parenting gig long enough that I can flex with change like a ninja. Like a superhero who can slow time to dodge machine gun fire. Like a contortionist-turned-master-thief avoiding the impenetrable grid of laser beams in the private bank vault of the nefarious (but unbelievably hot) villain. Change of plans? Yippee ki yay, mother effer. Do your worst.
Abby came home from college, and, to thank her, I took her to get a tonsillectomy. After repetitive strep throat this fall, doctors’ recommendations over several years, and, rounding down, 58 billion texts that read, “My throat hurts,” and “What do I doooooooo,” and “I’m dying for reals this time,” she was finally willing to have surgery.
I mean, she was willing until she wasn’t.
The day before surgery, Abby was all, “NOPE. Not gonna do it. It’s going to be horrible. I’m going to have Every Complication. Cancel it, please.”
And I said, “NOPE. Not canceling. This will improve your quality of life. Your tonsils are HUGE from all the scar tissue you’ve accumulated. It’s a miracle you haven’t choked on those suckers. The complications are rare. It’ll hurt like the fiery furnace of hell for two weeks. Then you’ll be better. It’s TOTALLY WORTH IT.”
She went into surgery Wednesday. Everything was fine. JUST AS I SAID IT WOULD BE.
On Thursday, she started hemorrhaging.
I’ll spare you the details because not all of you are planning to see Anna and the Apocalypse — the newly released, heartwarming Christmas zombie horror musical — but if we had a few undead and more singing, it was basically the same, gore-wise.
In the end, Abby was rushed into emergency surgery at midnight and lost enough blood to be offered a transfusion (7.2 g/dL hemoglobin count for those of you keeping track at home). I sat in the surgery waiting room — locked and deserted for the night — under the dim emergency lights, wearing the dirty sweats and shirt I’d pulled from my bathroom floor, sans bra, which were the closest clothes to grab when I rushed her to the hospital earlier that evening.
“The complications are rare,” I’d said.
“It’ll be totally worth it,” I’d said.
And here we are, four days later, while she channels all her energy into making new blood — she turned the transfusion down as soon as she heard the words “there are rarely complications” 🙄 — and I channel mine into rather ineffective attempts to keep her pain and nausea under control.
So our Christmas is a little different than normal. We canceled our Christmas Eve plans. The extended family is on hold. The candlelight service at church was minus a few Woolseys. I’m going to stick with a festive wardrobe rotation of dirty clothes from my bathroom floor. God knows if the annual cinnamon rolls are going to make an appearance. And tomorrow, I’m hoping Santa brings me a shower and a coffee IV drip.
But you know what? I really do have everything I want. First, my nephew didn’t die. And now my daughter didn’t either. And I don’t say that flippantly. I mean it to my toes.
Greg just took the healthy children to a movie. I’m home on Abby Watch, feeding her Gogurt and narcotics. In a bit, I’m going to snuggle up in a fuzzy blanket with a mug of Rooibos tea and watch an episode of Harlots while waiting for Santa to come. That seems jolly.
And then in the morning Love and Light will be born anew.
Dawn will come as relentlessly as the Dark before it.
If we’re lucky, we’ll remember for a day to look for the Divine in Unlikely Places. The face of a baby born in a stable. The trembling hands of a weary mama. The father who makes the impossible choice to race for asylum in a foreign land, hoping his child will live. The pagan astrologers who see what the religious cannot; that Love has been made flesh and dwells among us; that Hope is worth the long journey; that those who see Truth find it; and that Light will lead us to Joy, even if we have to take the long way ‘round.
And so tonight I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas — especially if, like me, it’s not at all the way you planned it.
With love… and waving in the dark…
P.S. How you doin’?