by Marie A.
Happy Holidays to friends and family
December 26, 2009
I had planned a long letter to sit down and write last night. It was witty and fun and insightful, etc. All of that flew out the window when I sat for three hours online with a 13 year-old girl in Minnesota who was going into premature labor in an apartment, by herself, in a raging snowstorm. There just really aren’t words to express the helplessness you feel at someone who won’t accept the help you can offer. She wouldn’t tell any of us where emergency personnel could find her; just kept us updated between contractions. She got dressed and walked herself and the baby to the hospital after she was done. I have heard she is ok, but the baby was real small and I have not heard how the little one is doing.
It made me think so many things, such as, how does something like this happen in the first place, in the US? How does a 13 year-old girl become so lost and forgotten that she pretty much disappears from view? And it made me reflect on the nature and power of friendship, no matter what form it comes into your life. I thought about the way people at holiday parties will slight others for some ten year-old grudge, but how a small group of us connected to a virtual stranger last night and prayed she survive what was such a terrifying ordeal. It made me really stop and count my blessings all over again, for every small thing. For this Christmas baby, there was room at the inn, just no one in her life who cared enough to get her there.
I know I’ve been out of touch most of the year for many folks. As I explained to a few, I needed some time to reflect, mourn my failures, and rebuild. I am thankful to all of you who were there for any part of that process. I actually had a lot of fun this summer and fall. Despite my status of being constantly broke, I was able to make a few road trips for example. I finally had a car I could trust to take me more than 20 miles away from home, although I did learn firsthand how danged uncomfortable it is to sleep in at a truck stop on I-81 in PA. However, I both was able to meet my cousin Matt’s bride-to-be on that trip, and I also made it to his wedding, one of the single most lovely events I have ever attended in my entire life.
When the almost 40 days and nights of rains this summer cleared, it was too late to salvage most of the gardens I had planted, but I was finally able to get outside and enjoy the sun. Hell, the landlord only almost caught me skinny-dipping once! Luckily 22 acres give s a lot of hiding places to furtively sneak off to. And who have thought I’d feel such idiotic pride at catching a few 4” sunnies from the pond? The kingfishers weren’t too happy about it but I was thrilled to pull those flopping little critters out… first fish I’ve caught in almost a decade! Made me think of my mom and Sandy, and how much they would laugh at me for being so proud of catching them and calling it "fishing"!
Pam, I’m so glad we took that trip to attend Courtney’s wedding, and visit the Adirondacks again. It was so wonderful spending time with Carla, and Lynn, and Beth, and Phil on that trip! There’s still a spare room here for you whenever you want it! Beth, I think of you every time I wear one of the bracelets you made me. Carla, I want you to know I use the stone bowl you gave me for all of my most treasured special occasions, and thus you’re always with us for them. Mike, I think of you every time I walk along the stream on my property. It was so nice seeing you and Sherry and the girls this summer!
Can I forgot Joanna coming over to spend time after I was unexpectedly hospitalized in March, a week before my move to CT? Thanks to Wendy and Jim for supplying me with a years’ worth of liquor boxes for the move. And could I forget to thank Andrew and Peter putting their backs into helping us get my furniture moved out here to this farmhouse? I believe I still owe you guys a good dinner for that one. And Peter, I will never look at a huge Caddy again without thinking of you. I am glad we got a few more days on the trail together, too. Cindy, I think of you all the time, and miss our chats and laughing. We’ll catch up soon, I am sure.
I cannot speak enough how warm a welcome I received at the new job at UCONN this spring… from Margaret, Anne, Arlene, Christine, Nancy, Doug, Cindy, Nina, and Cecile. Seldom have I worked with a nicer, funnier, or more welcoming group of folks, ever! The work is demanding and the hours are long but the environment is wonderful. I am so glad I made the transition out of industry. It is nice to feel wanted again for who I am and appreciated for what I bring to the table.
It was a year of remembering old friends, and making new. I look around my home and life, and am reminded everywhere of that fact. When I walk by the horses at work, I think of Jamie. When I peruse an antique store, I think of Angie. Sachin gave me my favorite hummus recipe, and I make it often. Because of Dani, I keep adventure stories on my shelf and pictures of places I want to visit someday tucked away. I keep the housewarming card from Joe in a place I can prominently see it. Dodie, I think of your kind words every time someone sends a forwarded prayer to me. Damien, I think of you every time I have to scrape together leftovers in an electric frying pan to make a meal out of remnants!
I thought of my family this year when the sunflowers flourished in my garden. Jess, I keep the blanket you crocheted for me at work, so when our office gets mistaken for a mail room in the arctic, I can wrap in it and be warm. it was wonderful seeing you this spring and summer both, and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip across New England, short though it was. Mary, it was so nice meeting you, and I cannot thank you enough for giving us dinner and a place to rest our heads. It was the first of many trips I had to make this year without a single in my pocket to spare, and your generosity was much appreciated. Leo, I play your cd in the car from time to time, and smile when I think of how you played for us all this summer. I am sorry you had such a terrible year; next year has to be filled with beautiful things of promise for you. June, it has been an absolute pleasure getting to know you, and we will start up again talking real soon, I promise. Amy, it was so nice hearing back from you. I think of you every time I lay down to read a good novel. Suzi, I thought of you when I almost got a dog this year, then realized that a 60-hour work and school week is not conducive to caring for the little guy.
I cannot think of this year, of course, without thinking of the writing circle I inadvertently stumbled into. Some of them have even become more than online buddies. Lynne, Mark, Kristina, Vesa, Kelli, Dale… my life is fuller now, knowing you and having you in it. Jeff, you have inspired me and challenged me to make my writing better. Chris… you won me over, my friend. I feel like I’ve known you my whole life, not just six months or so as friends. Christian, you’re just plain awesome! Don’t ever change, ok? Craig and SR, thanks so much for the copies of your books! They have been read cover to cover, and hold a treasured spot on my shelf.
I must say a brief word of course about animals, too. The new property is situated on some prime wildlife habitat, and I have been visited through the year by bear, osprey, herons, kingfishers, songbirds, two hawk species, owls, and a hummingbird or two. At least two foxes call my property home, as well as a fisher, muskrat, and coyote. Indoors, I now have one lovebird, Acadia (her mate Malibu passed away unexpectedly over the summer), Mystique and Rogue, my two green –cheeked conures; my seven parakeets, and 15 diamond doves. Their cooing awakens me every morning in a pleasant way. Porgy and Bess are well, too.
A moment of silence for what was lost this year. In August, I learned that one of my best friends ever, my friend Dan, passed away in May. Dan was very influential in my life and will always be missed. Leo lost his sister in July. Carla lost three horses in the summer and fall. My Aunt Bev is battling for her life right now with late-stage MS and complications. Many folks lost their jobs and homes this year. Most of us in one way or another have learned to tighten our belts and live with a little less. And Moonray and I decided recently to part ways, after a long struggle with our mutual differences.
Before I close, I will say I just got an update on that little girl from last night. The mom stopped breathing, but they got get her started again, and she is resting now. The baby weighed in at 3 lbs 8 oz and they do not know if she will make it, but she is ok for now. If you have a prayer to spare, send some their way, please, as you accept my wishes for a warm and Merry Christmas and prosperous and Happy New Year.
All my love this holiday season,