Monday, December 29, 2008

Yuletide Serendipity

Christmas has been filled with unexpected surprises.

I stayed at Jenn's for most of the week, helping where I could. In fact, I made pancake breakfast after Santa arrived (thanks, Peg and Don for the pancake mix) and then made a roast beef while Jenn, David, and the girls enjoyed the many presents under the tree.

Besides Santa's delivery, many of Jenn's readers sent or brought gifts of every size and dimension: homemade cookies (yum), chocolates (gourmet treats), knitted scarves (tx vbg), gift cards for all of us (iTunes and bookstores), personal notes and greetings. A cornucopia of compassion!! We could feel the love in the care that was taken with each gift.

The day after Christmas, girls having left for the west coast with their daddy, Jenn noticed a young woman coming up the front steps. Before we could get to the door, she was gone but left a carton of snacks for Sophie and Hannah and a big wrapped present which is now safely tucked under the tree until the kids return next week. It was snowing out and this woman had driven a distance just to leave these gifts. It amazed us that she did not even wait to be acknowledged. She quietly deposited her goodies on the porch and drove off. Such generosity of spirit! Largesse. Jenn received the good news that day that one of her essays on motherhood has been published in a new anthology, Labor Pains and Birth Stories edited by Jessica Powers. I read many of the essays and, believe me, this is a great book, powerful prose. Jenn can be proud to be part of the project.

So, my friends, I thank all of you who have helped to make our Christmas more bright because of your kindness.

A family friend whom I grew up with sent the most beautiful note about my mother's kindness to her when she was a child. Along with the tribute, she included money for Sophie and Hannah and the Polish traditional Christmas wafer called Oplatek. On Christmas Eve, Jenn and I continued the tradition and broke the wafer with the girls, wishing each other "peace".

We now wish all of you the same joy and peace you have given to us!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Polar bears and other sentient beings

I came across this photo at a National Geographic website. It reminds me of how life has changed this past year for Jenn and me. There's a 500-pound polar bear in the room which can no longer be ignored.

Jenn's illness and her ensuing struggle has called out the best in people, faithful readers of her blog who have shown they care in so many ways. And, of course, there are the girls who are dealing with "the polar bear disease" as best they can.

In this last month of a very challenging year, I offer a prayer for all endangered species, be they animal or human.

May those who hurt, find comfort
May those who comfort, find peace
May those who doubt, find patience
May those who truly care, find understanding
May those who find themselves on thin ice ...
Hold on, hold on, and trust.

Peace and love to all creatures great and small.

God bless us, every one.