I love Christmas, I really, really do. But there's a lot of pressure at Christmas, for Christmas, FROM Christmas. Does everyone feel that? Not just the gift giving pressure - that is just silly, we all need to get over that! I'm talking the bigger pressure, pressure to have fun, pressure to enjoy yourself, pressure to be happy, pressure to take it all in, pressure to be in the moment, it's a lotta dang pressure! I do it to myself every year. I love Christmas and I have this HUGE desire for it to be perfect! I want to wrap the perfect gift, bake the perfect food, watch Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life, and the Family Stone, in that order. I want to have baking day, sit by the fire and stare at my Christmas tree, drink eggnog every day, drive around looking at Christmas lights, go see the latest holiday movies, I want to Do. it. All. But I can't. And then I'm left feeling a little disappointed when it all comes to a halt on December 26th. See? Pressure.
And this year was rough going in. I knew I would constantly be thinking about this time last year...
And then, three days before Christmas, Seven had a seizure.
Scared the bajeezus out of us! Tom found her lying on her side on the porch, stiff and drooling. We flew, in total panic, to the emergency clinic not sure if she'd had a stroke or a seizure... Turns out it was probably a seizure. I'm scared to think about why she might have had a seizure, but for now we are gonna pray for no more seizures and be grateful that our 16 year old girl recovered and is back to her stubborn, ornery self!
Then, two days before Christmas, Tom woke me, holding our little Clishy Marie Shew,
saying he was leaving immediately for the vet.
She was breathing really weird, loud and raspy. The diagnostic process was rough, in fact they had to stop trying to diagnose her because it was causing so much stress that she went into cardiac arrest and they had to do CPR. When they stabilized her we moved her to a specialty hospital. There they diagnosed her with a ruptured chordae mitral valve. She was in heart failure. She was in the hospital for five days. We almost lost her twice the first day...the doctor update that first evening was dire. Tom and I spent that entire night in our clothes, camped in the living room, in paralyzing fear of hearing the phone ring...but each day after that terrifying night seemed to get a little better. Now our little girl is home, not out of the woods, but home. She now has her very own internist and cardiologist!
So this Christmas, the actual week of Christmas, was a whole new kind of pressure and stress. And it put all of that other pressure in perspective a little bit. I hope I learned something. I hope that next year I can enjoy the things I can do and let go of the things I can't do. I want to try to redefine what the holidays are about for me...I know me though, and I'm still gonna have to watch Miracle on 34th Street. There's no doubt about that.