Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Before Sunday, I had not even given a thought to the calendar and the fact that time does march on and Christmas is coming whether I do something or not.  In the span of 16 hours, Christmas exploded in my face.  A tree was purchased. Somehow, I managed to get it lit and now there is a scent of pine and the glow of my candy cane lights.  They are red, white AND clear.  I bought them last year.  Got tired of the "all clear lights" tree.  

The big break from tradition was when I decided to give up the angel who overlooked the whole scene in favor of a star that gently changes colors.  I think I recall my son saying I was being very radical about the whole angel thing.  "Whoa, mom, take it easy there.  You are seriously NOT putting an angel on top of the tree??"  Nope, I was starting a new tradition and that star was symbolic of the light that would guide me.

You see, last year, Christmas was pretty awful.  I was in the midst of a shitstorm that, if I have to compare, was worse than chemotherapy.  I can't believe I actually just typed that, but I gave it some thought and this is where I'm coming from. I knew I had to take care of myself when I was on chemo.  For that matter, and more importantly, my loved ones knew I had to take care of myself when I was on chemo.  Moreover, they knew there was a possibility, I might be in need of their assistance.  We all know one thing about post treatment life.  We just simply return to normal.  Yep.  That's the world according to those on the outside looking in.....  It's over and it IS.... but, it's different and can someone please get the outsiders to just embrace "it's different" ....  I think that is the BIGGEST problem facing the survivors.  Just acknowledge and validate us.  

Meanwhile, the mess that began in August of 2010 was coming at me from every direction.  I was not fully recovered from surgery and the sideshows were really * really * really bad.  There was NO way the 2010 Christmas tree was going to resemble any tree from Christmas Past.  I was alone in choppy water and I was fairly certain the boat was going to capsize.  At some point between December 2010 and July 2011 I realized my boat was taking on water at a rapid pace.  I hadn't capsized but there was a now a chance I might drown.  And suddenly, the choppy waters began to calm and I found the lifejacket and I just jumped overboard.  Floating in the water could not be any worse than the time I spent in that boat.

Today, I am staring at the nicely lit tree (still in need of ornaments), looking past the boxes that I must wrap (indeed, I must finish shopping) and I'm basking in the joy of a day where I was a tourist in my own city!  Christmas through the eyes of my not quite five year old niece in a city that does it up pretty good around holiday time-it is infectious.  I bumped into many people and none were locals.  I held myself to a very high standard of being kind and polite.  I took it on my shoulders to be the face of NY for a few hours.  After all, it's what any certified It Girl would do faced with similar circumstances.

The day began on the train.  Adventure #1 for my niece.  When we hit the street, the familiar Salvation Army bell was ringing.  There was a twist-more on that later..... Off to Toys R Us in Times Square which begs the question, "WHAT THE F*&% ARE YOU THINKING WOMAN??"  Who knew Toys R Us has a REAL ferris wheel that is about four stories high right in the front of the store??  INSIDE the store when you first walk through the doors..... Not this New York'er.  The line wasn't very long and in moments all four of us were being strapped into our car and off we went (ala Disney World, the photographer was there to snap the picture).

Next stop, crosstown to all of the other venues.  American Girl Store, which was another version of WTF are you thinking except this was a store filled with a different crowd.  I prefer the I don't wanna grow up toys r us crowd.  Next stop, St. Patricks's Cathedral where my niece insisted upon lighting a candle.  The candles in St. Pat's are not those push the button ones.  They are real, pick up a stick and light a candle from another burning candle.  I'm visualizing her jacket getting a little TOO close and scanning for the holy water in case I have to douse a flame.

And finally, the crown jewel of our site seeing before we would head to Radio City:  The tree at Rockefeller Center.  It was majestic and beautiful.

That tree was a mere backdrop for those Salvation Army guys....  There was more of a crowd around these guys than were staring at the tree.  One more thing I never saw.  Talk about a tourist!  This was the most fun of the day.  I think we stayed through two complete rounds of music:

If I had more patience, I would have uploaded this to You Tube for a better quality video, but you get the drift.

Tough act to follow but we headed down the block to Radio City for the Christmas Spectacular.  My niece was mesmerized by the whole show.  We all were.  Nothing was more poignant than Russell Markert's "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," which has been in the Christmas show since 1933. In it, the Rockettes move in rigid patterns that resemble military drills without a single trademark kick. "The Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" is masterpiece of precision and it concludes with the Rockettes standing in a straight line as they pretend to be hit by a blast from a cannon.   As they collapse one by one, each carefully hooking arms through those of the dancer in front and we were witnessing a painstaking game of human dominos.  Each dancer falls on the girl behind her and the last dancer has no choice but to crumple into an oversized red velvet cushion.

I suppose everyone who sees this performance takes away their own story.  For me, the cannon was breast cancer and each fallen girl represented another sister with a breast cancer diagnosis.  Or, the cannon was "The Magic Bullet" and each girl was being vaccinated because we finally had The Big Breakthrough.  I prefer the latter.......  That's My Grown Up Christmas Wish....


  1. Your post takes me back to when I lived in New York for the last two years! I agree with your Christmas wish. Happy Holidays~

    - Justine from Diplomat's Patient Advocacy Navigator

  2. Thanks, Justine. I am so glad I went... and thanks for taking a second to share your thoughts. It put me in the spirit. I have a decorated tree and wrapped gifts. I have two teeny errands to run and I AM DONE (literally and figuratively, ha!) Happy Holidays to you! PS. The gang at Diplomat is a welcome addition to the #BCSM chat!

  3. I'm hoping we will be able to make it to a chat very soon! We are looking to start up a monthly Twitter chat of our own in 2012, too. I am just about done with my own holiday preparations and it's nice to relax now. :)


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