It was a very different holiday for us this year celebrating a quiet dinner out with our son and father on Christmas eve rather than the usual raucous family gathering. Christmas day itself was even more relaxed around our home with me taking advantage of the downtime to read a good book. With our kids all getting older and doing their own things, calmer, quieter holidays are starting to be the norm instead of the exception. Being without family during the holidays can cause stress and anxiety for many especially for those out there dealing with illness. What you don't have, including your health, can be magnified when it appears that everyone else has what you want. It's difficult especially during the holidays but try to appreciate what you do have instead of what's missing from your life because an attitude of gratitude can go a long way in making you feel better about your circumstances.
With only 8 days left until Christmas, I am more calm and relaxed than ever before. I made a vow this year to not venture into a retail store unless I absolutely had to because shopping just takes up too much of my limited amount of energy. I'm proud to announce that except for a quick stop in a couple of shops with our eldest granddaughter on Saturday, I've kept that promise to myself. Online shopping has become so convenient with Amazon among other retailers offering free shipping, competitive pricing and easy returns, I'm not sure why anyone would fight the holiday rush if they didn't have to. I'm aware that some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of this season but having worked retail myself for over 20 years, I wouldn't set foot in another store ever if that were a possibility. I got to spend yesterday making Christmas cookies with our youngest granddaughter, a much better use of my time and energy and something we'll both remember for years to come.
I grew up in a time ( the 60's and 70's) and a place (Texas) where a woman's appearance was important, way too important. All these years later, I struggle with the impulse to "put my face on" both literally and figuratively before I leave the house. I credit both blogging and just getting too old to care but I'm slowly beginning to trust that it's okay to let my guard down. How can I expect anyone else to accept me for who I am if I'm afraid to show any vulnerability? I'm not sure if it is my upbringing or just a general societal expectation but I still grapple with showing any weakness which I know sounds completely ridiculous when you have an obvious disability. So when I saw this youtube video of Miranda Lambert's song "Mama's Broken Heart", I could definitely relate especially with the line, "It doesn't matter how you feel, it only matters how you look." It's important to laugh at yourself so if you recognize yourself in this video like I did, don't 'HIDE YOUR CRAZY."
Just finished listening to "Becoming Michelle Obama" on Audible, a moving memoir of a remarkable woman with an amazing story. When I first started doing advocacy and government relations work for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society 15 years ago, I had the opportunity to visit then Senator Obama's office in Washington D.C. where we first learned that his wife Michelle's father had MS. Obama's chief medical advisor at the time was also living with this disease so needless to say, the senator was more than willing to fund the necessary research so crucial to finding a cure. After listening to Michelle's heartfelt recounting of the slow decline of her father's health and his stubbornness to draw any attention to his condition, I had an aha moment. It suddenly dawned on me what my kids have gone through for years watching my condition worsen. I sometimes catch one of them observing my walking, visibly pained at seeing me struggle with a task that most people take for granted. Hearing how much Michelle's life was shaped b her father's MS made me realize even more clearly that this disease is truly a family affair affecting everyone who cares about me. I have nothing to be ashamed of but I do owe it to both myself and my friends and family to stay positive and proactive in this battle of a lifetime.
Hello World. This is a blog we created to give any one affected by MS in any way a constructive way to communicate with others going through the same challenges.