I admit, since Thanksgiving, I have been a bit down. My spouse’s health remains a serious problem that no matter what I do and how hard we and medical professionals try, his persistent symptoms have been intractable.
Then we have the mother-in-law, who is hanging on by a thread. She has no interest in living and no quality of life. She is a tough old bird, but her painfully slow demise is awful to witness. I am dreading…
… a visit with her over Christmas to sit in her dark little house watching her sleep through dozens of Hallmark Christmas movies. She is unable and not interested in doing anything. She doesn’t even eat (much.)
My work has been busy and to be honest, not much fun. Most everyone except me takes most of December off, and I’m left being acting-acting of acting-acting Acting Boss. The problem with acting so much is that you have no authority, yet all of the responsibility. Being Dr. Acting is tiresome and tedious and makes for some really long days, acting.
Then on top of all of this, it has been raining almost non-stop all year. The area where I live broke the record for the most rainfall in a year with buckets of rain that fell all weekend. It was wet, damp, foggy, and generally miserable, weather-wise, for a long time.
So lately, I’ve been emotionally in the dumps. I come home late from work, change into scuzzy comfortable sweats, go through the motions to prepare dinner (which the Spouse does appreciate,) then sit with him and watch endless sappy Hallmark Christmas movies until the fake snow does not accumulate any more. Bed by 2230, then up at 0400: lather, rinse, repeat.
However, that routine was busted to my surprise and delight last night.
When I arrived home (late once again), it was dark. (That’s another thing I don’t like about this time of year — it gets dark waaaay too early!) I was annoyed because there were a lot of cars parked up and down the street. Must be a neighbor having a party.
Once I backed my truck into the garage, I hit the clicker and shut the garage door. I got out of my truck and as I was turning to go into the house, the garage door opened again, all by itself.
I was puzzled why that was happening. I turned toward the garage door to see if the door struck an object and the safety feature caused it to reverse. Then… I heard something outside. Not sure what. I walked out onto my driveway. The seldom-used floodlights that light up the front lawn popped on.
Out in front, a crowd was gathering. At least 50 people approached my driveway and front walk. They gathered in a circle. I stood there completely dumbfounded.
Then I felt a gentle push of a hand on my back. I jumped, quite startled. There he was — my loving husband. He reached for my hand and led me to the front stoop.
The crowd whose faces I began to recognize started to sing. There were senior pals, neighbors, elected officials, cops from my district, firefighters and Battalion Chief from my home station, students I taught for citizenship courses, and even the customer service manager from the local grocery store. They sang some of my favorite Christmas carols. I joined in, but couldn’t sing that much because I was choked up with emotion.
Then by some planned movement — I swear it was choreographed — the visitors moved in a line and walked toward me. They hugged me, shook my hand, gave me homemade treats, and continued singing, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, We Wish You a Merry Christmas,…” and concluded with, “and You In Our Lives All Year!”
I crumpled onto my husband’s shoulder and cried like a baby.
I was presented a “community hero” Certificate of Appreciation from our county — my home — my community. (This was a ‘made-up’ award, but lovingly accepted from my District Councilmember.)
I guess Clarence was correct when he wrote to George in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life (my all-time favorite Christmas movie), “remember no man is a failure who has friends.”
Man, I’m still crying as I write this. I have The Spouse to thank for arranging this — and knowing how much he really detests crowds — he must really love me. (He told me later that he has been working on this for a month!)
Life is short: Yes, indeed, Clarence — it IS a wonderful life.