Every year my parents do a Christmas party that my mom requests that everyone dresses up as the characters from the Lampoons Christmas Vacation Movie (1989). If you haven’t seen it, please do me a favor and watch it with your dawgs…I promise you won’t be disappointed. I am a dog but I still have a good sense of humor. My costumes have entailed ‘Uncle Eddie’ and being the ‘squirrel’ that jumps out of the tree. I do not know why i must be tortured like this. This year I heard this guy name Covid is going around peaing all over people’s gatherings, so mom said no big party this year. There is a sadness in decorating the house as much as mom does and all the holiday baking and not sharing it inside our home with friends. Mom had a realization, she does so many things ‘for others’ to enjoy…maybe this year its about her enjoying the decorations and yummy food and cuddles on the couch with us. I also miss volunteering at the United Cerbral Palsy center, and showing up dressed as an elf to bring holiday cheer, but Covid peaed all over volunteering too.
Last Christmas, I was going through chemo. I had chemo December 23rd and flew from Lax to Reno on Christmas night to go to Tahoe. I’m not Eben the traveling french bulldog for nothing! It was on that flight i started pacing and then literally i stood in front of the bathroom door for 30 minutes. Open this door people! When I got off the plane my little legs ran so fast through the terminal, but I couldn’t help it , the chemo got the best of me and my mom had to tell people not to roll their luggage through well you know.
This post is for you my dog loving friends that have truly supported us, my instagram friends who’ve truly supported our cancer journey, and the true support of newer friends in my life who have all supported us in numerous ways whether emotionally or towards the go fund-me…my mom doesn’t know what she would have done without you. We know who you are and hold you close to our hearts! The one good thing that happened through my cancer was my mom and myself experiencing the friends she made through this past year that truly have rallied for us…the dog mom friends, and the new friends that she made through this that truly have been a support. Last winter my mom was depressed and anxious and afraid that I would pass away. I am here this year and still putting up with with Uncle Eddie costumes and wearing my candy cane stripped matching pj’s with my mom, and my ugly Christmas sweater, and the reindeer sweater that has a nose that lights up. So with this, there is tidings of comfort and joy…remembering all we have walked through. I met Sweet Pea who was getting chemo at the same time I would and our mom’s would sit together at the oncology center waiting for us. She passed away and her mom continues to cheer me on…she uses her pain to support and love others. One of my mom’s favorite quotes by Richard Rohr says ‘Pain that is not transformed is transferred.” In other words, you can always stay in your pain, resentment, anger, envy and withhold support and care and concern or you can become a source of strength and encouragement for others who are facing what you have (even if your circumstances turned out really devastating and are totally unfair). My mom wants to emulate this spirit of encouraging.
My mom reflects upon all our Christmas’s together (although she must admit the first one a month after she got me is so hard to remember)…she remembers my second Christmas where they took me to big bear and they discovered a manager where baby Jesus had been taken so of course they had me go in his place for a perfect photo…what I’ve had to deal with over the years! I remember one Christmas mom got my name engraved on the kelty hiking bag she would carry in case i needed to go in it…she made me wear an elf hat with her as we took our photo. There’s many memories of Christmas’s of mom and i in our matching Christmas pj’s as i unwrap my presents and open stockings with her and us dancing to Christmas music. My mom thanks baby Jesus who grew up to become someone who advocated for the sick to be healed and for the outcast to find a place of belonging…we are grateful for the Christmas story that brings us comfort and joy.
It is people that read this blog that helped me in my healing journey. My mom’s Christmas present has been all the friends we’ve made through this journey. I must say I really do like getting three dog bakery treats for Christmas, and my mom loves her new shoes or a nice piece of clothing for Christmas, but the best present has been experiencing those that have supported our journey and that we have each other and that’s a lot for love (Bon jovi). The other ‘best gift’ is presents, oops i mean presence…yes thats what i meant to say! my favorite gift of presence has been sitting in our old itty bitty apartment steps to the ocean …sitting on the couch with our tree that was cut down from the sierras and taking in the warmth of the heater and all the Christmas lights in the house and decorations from my mom’s childhood, and mom giggling at the poster she got made of uncle Eddie and of course put us in it…while Lassen and i lay with our Christmas pajamas lay next to her as she reads her book with coffee in the morning and dad and mom enjoy coffee watching lassen and I play on the couch in our winter wonderland house or as we watch a Christmas movie with our parents in the evening or walk on the beach trail with our Christmas bow ties on. As my mom sits and reflects about all the Christmas’s we’ve had she experienced tidings of comfort and joy. What has been your favorite gift of presence this season? Maybe you can sit and stay for a minute or two and think about it and let me know my dawgs what has brought you tidings of comfort and joy.
“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
“No man is a failure who has friends.” — It’s a Wonderful Life
“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” – Winston Churchill
“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.” – Agnes M. Phase