Every year before the Christmas trees go up, I spend a little time deciding the theme for the year. Actually it’s more like just the color scheme. I have a purple couch in my living room so we have a lot of purple, ivory and gold decorations. But I also have a lot of red, green and white. And then there are all the ornaments the kids have made through the years. The older the boys get the more precious those ornaments become. I think the most unusual tree I’ve ever had was Christmas 2002. Sadly, I don’t think I have a picture of it. That summer we had gone to Camp Chippewa, our United Methodist Church Camp, together and one of the crafts was making god’s eyes with sticks they found on the ground and every color of yarn imaginable. The boys loved it! And they made TONS of god’s eyes. Fast forward to December 5. I had the tree up and a plan, but hadn’t executed it yet. I didn’t feel great that evening. I woke up at 12:30 am hardly able to breathe with stabbing pain in my back. The kids were little; 4, 6, and 9. We couldn’t leave them home alone so we called a friend from church, Nancy, to come stay with the kids while we went to the ER. Turns out I had pneumonia and pleurisy! Horrible pain. To make it worse, the ER nurse forgot to ask if I had eaten recently (yeah, because I always have a snack at midnight before heading to the ER). She gave me the meds that were supposed to alleviate the excruciating pain I was experiencing in my back and chest with every breath I took. Unfortunately, it only took about 5 minutes before I started to heave. And heave. And heave. Remember the excruciating pain in my back and chest with every breath? And now I’m heaving. The nurse apologized profusely – she had just had her “lunch” in the middle of her shift and didn’t even think about the fact that I had an empty stomach. She really did feel bad…but not as bad as me. They quickly gave me a shot to ease the nausea, but it was too late. I heaved for another 6 hours!
But I digress. This little run in with pneumonia knocked me on my butt for 10 days. Literally in bed, for 10 days! Remember, it’s December 5th and the boys are 4, 6, and 9 years old. It was not good. Thank goodness for my Disciple Bible Study group. These friends stepped in and took care of my family for me. They cleaned my house, did my laundry, drove carpools, and delivered meals every night! I don’t know what we would have done without them. My house was cleaner after that 10 days than it had been in years! And the family got very used to having dinner delivered every night. Poor Gage came to think a doorbell meant dinner had arrived. In fact, when a Dominoes commercial came on, with the doorbell, Gage ran to the front door to see what was for dinner. A little Pavlovian response.
But alas, I digress yet again. So back to the undecorated Christmas tree. The boys decided they could decorate the tree for Mommy. And they knew just what to use…remember the God’s eyes from camp? Yup, they graced our Christmas tree that year. No garland, no candy canes, no delicate glass ornaments. Just god’s eyes in every color under the rainbow. And it was beautiful. Because the boys were so proud of what they’d done.