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Santa is my kind of guy

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One of Fireflys Santas from her collectionI began my Santa Claus collection when my children were little, and as the children became teenagers they started buying a new Santa for me each year. Last year my Santa collection was 3,000 miles away in storage in Los Angeles while I enjoyed my first Christmas on the farm in Western New York. This past weekend I unpacked my many Santas, refreshing my sweet memories of Christmases past as I looked at each one. My favorites are those the children gave me ... I will try to share them with you as the month progresses. Pictured here is the Santa I bought for myself the last year I lived in L.A. I bought him in Santa Barbara that fall, took him back to L.A., and now he is living on a farm in New York ... imagine that. See the little boxes in the photo? My mother made those out of greeting cards. She makes these perfect, lovely little Christmas boxes from greeting cards and wrapping paper folded very carefully from a pattern she inherited from her older sister. She used to keep a big bowl full of her perfect, magic little boxes and we loved looking through them with an "Oooh!" and an "Aahhh!" at her choices of cards and placements of key design elements such as trees, snowflakes, birds, Santas, and so on. Fireflys Snowglobe and some pretty little ornamentsIt has snowed here every day for the past several days, with strong winds blowing much of the time. Today there is neither snow, nor wind but it is cold and white outside. I am listening to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on iTunes at my computer as I write to you, and am enjoying the relaxing warmth I feel at the anticipation of holiday cheer. Early on in my blogging days I wrote of my daughter giving me a necklace of pearls for my birthday (She Gave Me Pearls, August 24, 2006):
"My birthday was earlier this month, and she brought with her a beautiful pearl necklace and matching earrings she made for me. She designs and handcrafts exquisite gemstone and pearl jewelry. All of her findings are handmade, each piece is worked long and patiently with fine details which are her own trademarks."I am not much for jewelry, but I must say I cherish each piece she has made for me … and I am fortunate enough to have quite a few. There is something about her jewelry that makes the person wearing it feel very fine and good."
My daughter is in her late 20's; she was my first of two children. I still remember her first Christmas, those memories are crystal clear and always will be, I am certain. So much of that first year of motherhood is crystal clear in my mind, poignantly etched indelibly in the deepest places where my love resides. Out of respect for her privacy, I have withheld something from my readers for quite some time. The truth is, she lives here with us and has for much of the time we have been married. She is temporarily disabled, unable to work due to injuries she suffered from domestic violence. Harsh though that is to put into words, it is the truth and it is healthy not only for the individual, but also for society, for people to speak up and speak out where it has occurred. She has chronic pain in her neck and lower back from her injuries, and unfortunately her condition worsens when she tries to work on her jewelry, or knit, or do much of anything productive. The past several months have been particularly difficult for her; I have lost count of the number of times we have been to the emergency room for horrific pain she is experiencing that no pain killers will abate. How many doctors have we visited, on how many occasions, how many tears have been shed, and momentary hopes dashed as a new episode of pain descends. Several months ago she was sent to physical therapy, and the physical therapist was very rough on her long slender, tender neck and only made matters far worse. Late in the summer she tried a chriopractor who at times was able to help, but at times the adjustments only seemed to exacerbate her problems. Recently she has been going to a different physical therapist three times a week getting primarily massage therapy, which has helped at times. But still, the pain continues. Honestly, it is tragic. It is tragic to see someone going through something like this at all, but when you witness your own loved one suffering and there is little you can do to be helpful, it rips through you like a tidal wave over, and over, and over again. Yesterday we finally made out way to a pain center, a place that specializes in the kind of pain she suffers from. The information she was given, the diagnosis, the treatment suggestions made a whole new kind of sense ... and we drove the one hour drive home feeling light of heart for the first time in a long time. She smiled and told me some very funny stories (she is a great story teller; comes from a long line of them). When we got home, I felt swept over with a sense of starting over again, newly. I think perhaps this time she found a doctor who could actually say definitely what is going on with her body, what needs to be done to fix it, how much time it might take, and what to expect ... what to do. Rather than the mystery of not knowing what was happening and not having any confidence that anyone knew what to truly do to create improvement ... today there is hope. A pretty red ornament at Fireflys placeHope. Hope is one of the most valuable assets of life. Hope, faith, love, gratitude. They are the jewels that make life sparkle. She makes life sparkle with her beautiful jewels, now maybe she has a shot at enjoying some sparkle in her own life again. I added the pattern for her hand knit scarf this week, and a few auctions of some of the jewelry she made before the pain began. Have a warm, beautiful pre-holiday weekend. We will. ~firefly


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