A Better Way
White compression socks stretch up my thighs. A blood pressure cup tightens on my left arm, causing a twinge of pain in the IV hanging off of my left hand. Obnoxious yellow socks warm my feet while a blood oxygen monitor hangs from my right middle finger.
If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m writing in my pre-op room while waiting for surgery. They pushed back my start time an hour, giving me a chance to finish before going under. By day’s end I should be sufficiently drugged and on my way to recovery.
But it will take time—time that will inhibit holiday fun. So, I’ve set my expectations dial accordingly, and feel ready to press on.
Friends have asked, “Are you cooking for Thanksgiving?”
My retort? “Of course not!”
In years past, my non-participation would’ve stirred sadness and regret. But not anymore. I now relish the number of cooks in my family who love to host and set out the spread. It took years for me to accept I can’t do it all. Especially when it comes to my kids. But I can’t. And if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you can’t either.
So, be kind to yourself. Breathe deep. Savor the gifts and love you were designed to share. And then, plan.
As music students entered my home this week, everyone of them exclaimed, “You’ve decorated for Christmas already!”
“You bet!” I boasted. “I’m about to have surgery and won’t be able to lift anything for weeks. Getting this done now means I’ll get to enjoy it a lot later.”
You may not value Christmas decor as much as I do, but stretching the holiday time line out helps me accomplish what matters with greater peace. So, even when I’m not having surgery, my artificial tree is normally up before Thanksgiving.
With the decorating done, I’m free to attend concerts, shop, and possibly bake at a more leisurely pace. I purchase most gifts online, but occasionally stop by small boutiques to enjoy the festive atmosphere.
This year, I’m looking forward to a weekend of concerts with my oldest son. In a five-day span, we’ll attend the Atlanta Symphony holiday concert, the holiday pops concert at his church, and the Milton High School holiday concert that he’ll help direct. Even now, a month ahead, I’m aware that I’ll need to say no to other offers so I can enjoy my time with him.
I won’t go ice skating at Centennial Park or head to Callaway for the light show with family the day after Thanksgiving. I definitely won’t wake up for Black Friday shopping or head downtown to see the peach drop on New Year’s Eve.
Limits will define more of my life than I like. But after a decade of living with them, they provide a comfort I value. It’s okay to say no. To not be busy. To go to bed early on New Year’s Eve or to serve store bought cookies at a party.
Resisting the pull to do it all in a specific order or culturally accepted way allows me to bask in the season of miracles and celebrate what the holiday represents… Peace on Earth and good will toward men.
So again, I urge you to breathe deep. To stay calm. To keep a steady pace. And to refuse to join the rat race.
Choose the better way.
About the Author: Susan Schreer Davis lives with her husband, their cat named, Eggs, and the challenging effects of mitochondrialdisease. Learn more about Susan, her latest book and many songs at: www.susanschreerdavis.com