Happy excitement coursed through my veins. I couldn’t put a finger on any one thing causing the elevated state of mind, but I knew all the contributing elements. I ticked them off in my mind. One, my family was gathered together in one room, a rare even. This happened only rarely since all my siblings were much older and seldom home together at the same time. Two, they were talking about the upcoming Christmas season. I shivered with delight. Three, we would celebrate the eve of Saint Nicholas in a few days. I looked forward to putting a letter to Saint Nicholas in my cereal bowl at bedtime. In the morning I’d find candy but no letter in it. At school, small brown bags of candy would be left on our desks while we played during the last recess of the day.
The biggest reason for my excitement was the weather. It was snowing. Earlier, I’d heard the grown-ups say this would be the first big storm of winter. My seven-year-old mind could scarcely take in all these wonderful blessings in my life.
After Tammie and I attended Mass on Christmas Eve, we shared a special meal together, then turned out all the lights except one lamp and thoes on the Christmas tree. A lovely, deep calm settled over the household. From the stereo came soft strains of beautiful, traditional Christmas songs by Mannheim Steam Roller, played in their usual non-traditional manner.
Under the tree there were two piles of gifts. One was from me for my daughter, the other stack was from her. Sitting on the floor next to them, Tammie leaned forward and pushed two presents aside, pointing out, “These two are your birthday gifts from me. You can’t have them until the 27th.”
Jumping up from the sofa, I exclaimed, “Thanks for reminding me. It’s midnight and baby Jesus’ birthday! Retrieving a small package from a chair side drawer, I walked over to the nativity set and unwrapped a small infant Jesus figure. Placing it in the manger between Mary and Joseph, I said, “There you go, my sweet little baby.” Tammie and I paused for a moment to enjoy the familiar ‘Silent Night’ melody playing on the stereo, then began with our gift exchange. Continue reading →
I found the patient watching television. He looked sleepy. I said, “I’m here to take you for a walk. Getting up and moving around after surgery is very important.”
The patient responded, “I’m too tired and too sore.”
Nodding, I replied, “I know you are, but it’s a doctor’s order that you get up and walk at least three times a day. You can take a nap when you get back.” Knowing it wouldn’t pay to argue, the man sighed, pushed back his bedding and tried to sit up. A pained expression crossed his face and he dropped back against his pillow.
I patiently explained, “It’ll hurt less if you roll to your side and then push up.” Following my directions, he easily got to sitting on the edge of the bed a minute later. I suggested, “Get your bearings while I find your slippers and help you put on a robe. Do you want to comb your hair?” Continue reading →