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Thursday, December 27

sidestepping the cliches

It would be easy to draw a Christmas story replete with imagery of the miracle baby and gathering of wise guys and making do before the manger was put together but I won't.

We came together at the home of my son and his wife to celebrate the Holiday and to enjoy the new baby. And we did. There wasn't time or room for a tree, (the baby's furniture hunkered in a corner of the living room while her room was being painted)  so I wired together bunches  and swags of greenery and decorated doors and windows and the mantle. Gifts were piled on the hearth. It was pretty cool, actually.

 I was there for 2 weeks before Christmas, Russell and the other grandparents arrived on the 23rd. But before that, I had quiet time with my granddaughter. Holding her for the first time was a heart quake.

She gained almost 2 pounds in 3 weeks and she will never again be as tiny as she was in this picture.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas day we had one baby, 2 parents, 4 grand parents and 5 dogs. It was glorious. Billy and Leisha tormented me with Christmas carol parodies from shows like South Park and I still find myself  softly singing "Ding, fries are done" as I putter around the house. They will pay for this. 

We left for home right after Christmas dinner, deciding to beat the coming snow storm by outrunning it. It worked. We got home at 5 am under an oddly pink night sky, napped, ran for food and then hunkered down to enjoy the feeling of being trapped in a snow globe, kept warm by a fire, some quilts and new memories.

Heavenly peace, indeed.

Saturday, December 22

meanwhile, in Michigan

I used to post a lot, about everyday things and big things and art show stuff. Then I got side-tracked by life, I guess. It is easier, somehow to write of small things that loom large, than it is to write of the major  
life events that rattle the earth beneath you. That takes time and thought and perspective. For a while it seemed too big of a job and blogging should not be a job.

So, OK,  I got cancer again and had surgery again and was pronounced clean and fit again. The procedure I had, (over and above removing the small tumor that was nestled in fatty tissue and not, thank God, in an organ, was elective.) I had to keep reminding myself of this during a recovery that seemed to be taking eons longer than I thought. I'm OK now. Moving along...

I became a Grandmother in November. I'm not sure how to explain that feeling. It is one part "am I really this old???" and 99 parts "what a miracle".

My granddaughter, Emma Rachel (her middle name is my Mother's) was delivered early due to complications my brave and tough daughter-in-law suffered. My daughter-in-law has Cystic Fibrosis but has not allowed it to impact her life in any measurable way.
I admire and respect her and love her.  Emma spent some scary weeks in the NICU, tubes everywhere, but she is home and gained 2 pounds in a month and is beautiful and what a miracle. I watch my son, besotted by this peanut of a child, gently tending her and it fills my heart.

On the art side, I had none of my usual Christmas shows for various reasons which impacted my Christmas shopping  and will really hurt when I start sending out applications in a few weeks. I need to make some decisions about shows but I'm having trouble settling back into normal. My studio looks like a victim. It will take many hours of concentrated work to get it back to workable space. But I love this time of year. Out with the old, everything in order, clean brushes and new pots of glue. Beautiful. Promise.

I have been here in Grand Rapids staying with my son and his family for a couple of weeks. Lending a hand, tending to chores, providing moral support for Emma's first bath, first nail clipping. I helped pick out her first Christmas dress and went with the kids to help choose paint colors for the nursery.  I'm not sure how much they actually need me, but it has been good to feel like they did. Emma's other grandparents will be here for Christmas, after which we will leave and they will stay for a few weeks. I may be back in February for a bit.  It is a sea change from the easy, cozy life Russell and I have been living, but it is good for all of us, I think.

And so it goes. Life and all its surprises.

I missed writing my blog, it seems. I'm going to try to get back in its good graces.

To write of simple things, to make yourself really see them is like an act of grace. I haven't just missed writing the blog, I've missed what the act of writing it gave me.