“A friend is more to be longed for than the light; I speak of a genuine one. And wonder not: for it were better for us that the sun should be extinguished, than that we should be deprived of friends; better to live in darkness, than to be without friends”
On Friday, against all odds — questionable weather, my shoulder injury, and the unpredictability of Covid rules in various states — I’d planned to pile my sons, our suitcases, and me into my vehicle and take a two-day road trip to go and stay with my mom at her house in Louisiana for Christmas.
But it seems it wasn’t meant to happen this year.
Before finishing loading up my car, snow began to fall.
The snowflakes tumbled down in ever-increasing clusters. The street was covered in less than a half hour, and the white crystals continued to cartwheel to the ground with a windswept flourish.
In the midst of this sudden swirly veil of fluff, I was stowing the last items in the back of my car.
Unfortunately, there were patches of ice covered by the fresh snow around the sides and back of my vehicle.
I slipped and fell, my fuzzy-gloved hands landing on the ground, having nothing to grasp, while trying to keep my sneakers from sliding so that I didn’t end up on my knees.
I’d stretched out my injured right shoulder, my gloved hand gripping at anything I could find. All my weight was on my right shoulder, and my muscles were so tense, holding me in place, my body ached.
My son was standing next to me, and I was able to grab hold of his jeans, then use my left arm to pull myself up.
I think my son was afraid to grab hold of my right arm. It may have caused more harm to my shoulder.
A little backstory. I’d just gotten an MRI two Mondays ago that showed I had two small tears in my rotator cuff.
It explained why I’d not totally healed since I injured it by repetitive work (my writing, of course, and probably my posture to a certain extent) back in mid-May. I’d gone through weeks of PT and had a steroid shot in June. But the sports doctor didn’t know about the tears. The ultrasound, x-ray, and CT scan didn’t detect them.
This past Tuesday, I met with the sports doctor. I am to get another steroid shot on January 5 and follow it up with four more weeks of healing PT. He said the type of tears I have should be able to heal without surgery. From the other patients he’s had with this similar injury, he believes I should graduate from these treatments after the PT.
I sure hope so.
So, as you can imagine, I was a wreck, worried over perhaps making my shoulder worse with that fall and having put so much pressure on my shoulder.
I went back into the house and iced up, then took Advil.
My son called my mother and let her know we wouldn’t be making it to her house for Christmas. 😦
It broke our hearts, knowing how much she wanted to spend Christmas with us, her being alone at her home.
So, this Christmas will be very quiet, with my sons and I. We will put up our small Christmas tree due to our mischievous, young cats, and watch our usual Christmas movies this week.
Most certainly, our favorite Christmas movie, It Happened on Fifth Avenue, will be watched on Christmas Day.
I plan to attempt to make a roast beef in a crock pot, and make gravy, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and vegetables for the Christmas dinner. Cranberry sauce will make its usual appearance.
We’ll feast on the roast beast and fill our bellies later with chocolate chip pumpkin cookies with a dab of whipped cream and maybe even a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Why not?
This has been an incredibly hard year for me and my family, with health issues, injuries, personal struggles of faith and severed relationships.
But in the midst of this trying year, there was also the pinnacle event of my debut novel, Passage of Promise, published on May 1. A bright beam of light in the darkness.
But I know the four things I love the most will always be there: God, Family, Friends, and my Writing.
I’ve learned this year that health is even more vital than I’d thought. And I hope that once all of this separation and unexpected illnesses/injury have passed away, I will work harder on strengthening bonds with my loved ones and treasure life even more.
Life is short, and my sons, mom, sister, nieces, nephew, friends, God, and my writing are what I live for.
So many blessings. So much to be thankful for.
May God give me precious time to turn to Him every day and show gratitude for His gifts through love and creating stories that fill people’s hearts with joy and profound experiences.
If you grew up the child of a military member, you’ll understand how life was for me.
My life revolved around moves on base and off, from as early as two years old to seventeen.
Since my birth in the state of Maine, my family moved from there to Taiwan, Massachusetts, Virginia, Alabama, Germany, Illinois, Virginia, and Colorado.
While in Germany, my mom took my sister and I with her to Greece each summer so that we could spent it with our yiayia (grandmother), aunt (thía), and our two cousins. We spent three summers in Greece, and the memories are fantastic.
Most of the time, we spent our days at the beach, playing mini golf, eating ice cream and watermelon, and tramping around the suburbs of Athens.
One time, my mom took my sister and I to a disco. It was fun dancing to the BeeGees on colored tiled floors produced by strobe lights and a disco ball dangling from the noisy room’s ceiling.
And the outdoor theaters were awesome–four walls without a roof, surrounded by beautiful flowers with the huge screen on the wall across from us.
My dad retired in Colorado, and I finished up my last year of high school in Castle Rock, Colorado.
Although attending my senior year at a completely unfamiliar and friendless high school was both challenging and incredibly abysmal, the fact that I fell in love with the light, arid, sunny climate and gorgeous mountainous scenery of Colorado helped lessen that year’s lows, and it only got better after I graduated, seeing how I hated high school.
When I was growing up, I was painfully shy, and it took me several months to get to know other kids. Nevertheless, I did each place we moved, and in some cases, I wrote to those I became friends with for many years, until most of them stopped writing.
Writing letters was a normal way of communicating in my day, youngsters out there reading this. 🙂 And writing letters and receiving them in the mail was akin to getting a surprise gift every time my mom would bring in the mail.
One friend, who became my best friend, I met while my family was stationed at Rhein Main Air Base, is still in contact with me today. We’ve literally kept in contact, visited with each other a few times, for the last approximately forty years.
Relationships like that are so special and cherished. In fact, I’ve talked to her recently, and she is planning to come visit me in a few weeks, depending on the COVID rules here in Colorado.
Childhood memories of getting in and out of airplanes, unpacking our things, starting at new schools, are embedded in my mind. Riding my bike with my friends, playing Barbies, going to the roller skating rink to glide around the circular floor and do the hokey-pokey with the lights off and colorful spotlights dancing around the huge space bring a smile to my face.
So many children were in the neighborhoods in which I grew up. You’d encounter them on your street or in their front yards, and soon, you were talking, playing–friends.
There was such freedom in the days of my childhood. You hear that often from older folks like me. But it is so true. Life was full of imagination, wonder, and riding your bike or skating around your neighborhood and beyond with no fear and little limits/boundaries, especially if you lived on base.
I wish it were still like that today. My sons didn’t grow up with the same freedoms I did.
All those moves exposed me to different cultures and different people, and I feel blessed to have had those experiences.
I bring all this up because not only am I reminiscing, but also because ideas of writing about the military brat’s life, using some of my own experiences to create a work of fiction has been swirling around in my head the past few days.
Perhaps this new idea will land on my mind’s runway, and a story will be written. I’m hoping so.
Were you a military brat? What childhood memories do you hold dear?