Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tis the season to be MARY

I am absolutely exhausted today.  I asked myself why this morning.  Why am I so tired?  Why do I want to hit the snooze button and skip the gym today?  It is because I have succumbed to the season.  The season of Christmas that is. 

The past few weeks our agenda has been incredibly full.  Christmas parties every weekend, shopping, cleaning, church activities, preschool activities, trimming the tree, etc etc.  I literally could go on all day.  All of this combined with our normal day to day schedule has become almost more than I can handle.  I have tried not to become one of "those" people that gets caught up in the commercialization of Christmas...but I have.

Growing up I can remember my parents being exhausted by the time that the big day rolled around.  I didn't know why at the time because I thought that Santa had all of the hard work to do.  Like delivering toys all across the world in a sleigh with eight tiny reindeer.  One of those reindeer even had a shiny red nose!  As I have grown older I now know why.   Mom stayed up into the wee hours of the morning cooking and  wrapping gifts.  Dad stayed up to assemble an assortment of toys.  I always would be amazed that Santa had the same wrapping paper that my Mom did.  Even though Mom and Dad made Christmas such a special, amazing, and magical time, they never let us forget what it was all about.  It was about faith, family, and giving to others. 
Christmas Eve was a jammed packed day in the Wilson Family.  We would start out by going to my Mom's parents for lunch.  I was always excited because we could play with our cousins the entire day.  I can remember playing in Granny and Papaw's bedroom one year and we all found a big box with a blanket over it.  My cousin Erin was the oldest and the tallest at time time, so she was able to maneuver the blanket off of the box.  Inside was a brand new TV.  We were amazed at our discovery and ran to tell our parents about what we had found.  I don't remember the exact explanation that they gave for our findings, but we believed it!!!  Amazingly,  the next morning Santa brought the exact kind of TV to our house, it was incredible!
I remember the last Christmas with my Papaw John.  I was seven years old.  They usually had an artificial tree, but that year he decided to go and cut down a tree in the woods on their farm.  At the time I thought that the tree was a little ugly. It was a little bare in places and it wasn't a perfectly shaped tree, but my Papaw was so proud of it. He hung the strands of the old multi colored bulbs, you know, the real big ones.   Now when I look back, it was one of the most beautiful trees that I can ever remember.

 After Christmas Eve lunch we would then go to the community Christmas program in our little town, Borden. It used to be held in the parking lot of the hardware store, but because of cold weather they eventually moved it to the old Museum Building in town.  All of the community would gather and listen to the Christmas story read by one of the ministers of the various churches in town.  After that members of all of the churches would come together and sing Christmas Carols until Santa arrived on the fire truck.  I can remember the anticipation and excitement when we heard the siren on the fire truck.  Santa would give a bag of candy to all of the children.  Those were the best candy canes that I have ever eaten.  It is a tradition that is still alive today.  The same families are there each year, and as we all leave to go our separate ways when it is over, everyone hugs and gives warm wishes of a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Following the Christmas program we would make our way to my Dad's parents house.  My dad has a big family and we all are very close.  We celebrate every birthday, holiday, etc etc together.  Christmas was especially special.  We would all be jammed packed into their small house.  The smell of all the wonderful food, the gigantic mound of presents under the tree, it was all magical.  I can remember placing the gifts under the tree.  It was a nice tree, Grandma always had white doves on it.  We would all pack into the kitchen and have prayer together, not forgetting what the season was all about, and then we would eat.  My Grandma and Papaw had a dining room table with brown leather chairs and I remember twisting around and around while sitting at the table in those chairs.  After eating we would distribute all of the gifts.  As a grandchild, if you were old enough to read the name tags, you had to sort all of the gifts and hand them out.  Everyone would find their little spot or corner to call their own.  Eventually as a family we had outgrown my Grandparent's house and now my Aunt hosts Christmas Eve.  Things have changed a little.  Papaw is no longer with us, and the next generation of kids are now handing out gifts.  Changes and all, we still love each other more and more each year, and we all still celebrate together.  It was a tradition started by our Grandparents who knew what the most important things in life were.  What an incredible example they set, and what an amazing thing they started so long ago. 

Exhausted from the busy day, when we got home late that night, it wasn't too hard for us to fall asleep.  One year while driving home I looked in the sky and saw a flashing light.  Dad told me that it was Santa's sled and that we needed to hurry up and get home and go to sleep.  Now I know that was a jetliner, but still today on Christmas Eve when I see a plane in the night sky, I think to myself that we better get home and go to bed because Santa is coming. 

Christmas morning we would wake up sometimes before daylight.  We would wake mom and dad and run to the living room to see if Santa had come.  The tree would look beautiful, the lights twinkling, the gifts arranged so neatly.  One year we even had a tent completely assembled in the living room that Santa had brought.  Years later I learned that my dad put the tent together at Grandma and Grandpa's house in the garage.  He and my aunt rode inside of the tent in the back of the truck in sub zero weather Christmas Eve night, so that it would not blow out of the truck to bring it to our house!  They still laugh about that every year on Christmas.   After opening gifts, we usually go back to sleep at some point that morning.  We stayed at home on Christmas day.  It was our day with our parents.  Our grandparents would usually stop by that afternoon to see all our treasures.  Those were great times.  Although we were blessed beyond measure, my family never let us forget about the true meaning of Christmas.  I pray that I am able to do the same with my kids.

Years have gone by and now I can't believe that I am the mom.  I'm the one that has been awake until 2am the past two nights making sure that the gifts look perfect and the bows are just right.  Putting toys together while trying to get the house clean for the guests to arrive.  We are also making new traditions.  I host my husband's family at our house on Christmas Eve day.  I have learned from his 96 year old Grandmother how to prepare traditional Romanian cabbage rolls (sarmale) for Christmas.  I melt when I see the excitement in the eyes of my kids.  We are making memories of our own while still not forgetting where we have come from. 

Yes, I admit it.  It is the week of Christmas and I am exhausted.  The most important thing that I want my kids to know is that we can't forget the humble beginnings that Christmas is all about.  Jesus came into this world in a dirty barn, not the deluxe birthing suite.  Not a birth we would call fit for our Saviour.  So, as we try to make everything perfect this Christmas just don't forget that humble beginning.  Believer or not, let us not forget about giving of ourselves and giving to others less fortunate.  Be with your family, enjoy that time with them, because we never know what the next year will bring.   Love each other.

Merry Christmas to all of you and I hope that you have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

As long as we both shall live

Some people believe in love at first sight.  Call me a skeptic, but I think that is all a big crock.  The only "love at first sight" that I believe in is when your child is born and you see your baby for the first time. Then even though it is the first time that you have "seen" the baby, you have loved them since the very beginning. 

Last week Bobby and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and over the past few days I have been thinking about how awesome this journey with him has been and continues to be.  For some,  5 years seems like we are still just babies, but my how many things we have experienced since then.

I am blessed beyond measure to have meet Bobby.  I can remember the first time I saw him, he was in typical Bobby mode...going a hundred miles a minute.  He rounded the corner to the nurses station at 2B on a mission.  It was about 4am, I could tell that he had literally just jumped out of the bed because he was called in to an emergency in the ICU.  His hair was going in every direction, lab coat was wrinkled, pants were too short.  Despite all of that, his sweet face caught my eye.  He was looking for a chart and I just happened to find it...a  few days later we meet for coffee at Barnes and Noble Bookstore.  We talked for hours and actually closed the store down.  I even remember the green shirt he was wearing...his mom got it for him from Oregon.  It was comfortable, easy, like we had known each other forever.  When I got home my mom asked me what I thought.  My exact words were, "I really like him.  He is so nice and sweet.  Even if nothing happens between us, he is a friend that I could have for life."  We went out the following night, and the three following that.  I learned very quickly how absolutely amazing, smart, caring, and funny this guy was. 

Over the next few months we would see each other as much as we could.  We would meet in the hospital cafeteria or the the break room for a quick lunch.  I would drive 30 miles to Louisville and sit outside University Hospital waiting to see him, sometimes only for 10 minutes, but it was worth it!  On Christmas Eve I asked him to go with me to my Aunt's house and meet my family.  This was a huge step for me.  I had never really brought anyone I had ever dated to meet the entire family before.  I could tell that he was nervous, but he went because I had asked him to.  Before we came, I gave the family a pep talk and told them that he was my friend and not their doctor.  I warned them that he wasn't going to listen to their lungs and diagnose that nasty cough.  When we walked in the door my dad was the first to meet and greet him.  Bobby said "Hi Mr Williams, nice to meet you".  My dad, Lonnie WILSON just smiled and made him feel right at home.  It took all of 15 minutes and my Uncles and Papaw had all lined up and were explaining their entire medical  history to him over the Christmas ham.  It was actually a good thing because it was something that Bobby was comfortable talking about.  The next day I was talking to my Papaw and asking him what he thought about Bobby.  He told me that he thought that Bobby was a fine man and that I should not let him slip away.  Papaw knew what he was talking about, and in my heart I knew down deep that he was the one.  Our friendship blossomed into a relationship over the next few months.  In May he had to go out of town for two weeks for a conference.  I took him to the airport and when he left my heart was so heavy and I felt so sad when he was away.  I knew then that I was in LOVE.  It is funny that he too had the same revelation while on that trip.  He says that is where he really realized that he was in love with me too.  When he got home we told each other that we loved each other.  It was so special because it had been almost a year in the making.  We both knew that these words were not spoken lightly.  We were engaged on February 5th 2005 and married on December 2nd 2005. 

Since then we have had many good times and some bad along the way.  We survived his fellowship, job hunt, and finally finding a job.  We have endured the illness of his grandmother.  We grieved the loss of my Papaw with each other.  We bought a car, a house, and had two babies in 20 months.  What a journey it has been along the way.  It is challenging at times.  Having a husband who has a job that is so demanding is very hard.  Our kids don't have a normal bedtime because when it is 10 o'clock at night and they haven't seen their daddy at all because he left before they were awake, I can't make them go to bed.  Liv stands at the window and watches every headlight that comes down our street waiting for it to turn in our driveway.  Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, there are always sick people who need them.  It is hard for Bobby, because he wants to be at home too, but there are times where he can't.  Doctor's wives definitely don't get their nails done everyday and sit at home and eat chocolates.  We handle everything at home from repairs to the laundry.  Although sometimes I miss him and get frustrated I think about the wives who wait months for their husbands to come home from war, and I am thankful.  I have a husband who loves me and my babies more than life itself.  He sacrifices everything for us.  At the end of the day when he comes through that door, even if it is midnight, he always has a smile on his face.  This is our life, it is how it has to be, and that is fine with me.  I am proud to have a husband who actually wants to help people.  It isn't a paycheck to him.  He wants to make a difference and I admire him for that.

Our love was not love at first sight, it is a love that started with a friendship and grew into the beautiful thing that it is now.  We are in this through the good times and the bad.  We are a team.  How BLESSED I am to have such a loving faithful husband.  Bobby, I love you with all of my heart and I am so excited that I get to spend the rest of my life with you.  It gets better and better with each passing minute.  My cup overflows...