Sunday, December 25, 2011

On the 12th Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: 12 Months of Memories

"On the twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me:
12 months of memories,
11 days a-vacationing,
10 pages turning,
9 ducks a-bugging,
an 8 year old dancing,
7 hens a-laying,
6 cats a-sleeping,
5 More Minutes!
4 calm equines,
3 fuzzy dogs,
2 flightless birds,
and an old farm in the country."

Enough said: It's Christmas Day. An entire year is nearly over. I am grateful for so many things today: my parents visiting from 500 miles away, weather warm enough to go outside without wearing a bazillion layers, the succulent turkey dinner that will soon knock me into a tryptophan-induced coma.

Still: as I've been revamping the 12 Day of Christmas for the past week and a half to make it more meaningful to me, I've been reminded again and again of so dang many things that I am grateful for. They just won't fit into a single song. And so, today, to cap things off and end this little 12-day series, I am especially grateful for having been able to spend another year with the people and creatures that make my time on this planet meaningful and rich.

Some of the memories 2011 brought:

*  We got Barkeley, our St. Bernard, in January. He quickly became a Totoro-like member of the family. So many memories of the previous months include His Giganticness resting his fuzzy head on my lap (or on my computer), quietly entreating attention.

*  My 8 year-old daughter began taking ishinryu karate and loved it. I watched her go from fumbling through the basic movements to calmly practicing self-defense techniques with full-grown adults. Two weeks ago, she earned her yellow belt. Her smile at learning of her accomplishment is a memory I'll cherish for a long time.

One of my favorite views.
*  I rode far less than I wanted to, but the times I did ride were filled with the stuff memories are made of: a willing horse, wide open spaces, and (on occasion) the company of a good friend. ::sigh:: I'm smiling just thinking about it...

*  In direct contrast to my time in the saddle, I spent far more time than I wanted to in the ER when WunderGuy seized violently, unexpectedly, and uncontrollably. Most of the problems were attributed to a change in manufacturer of his meds (don't get me started on generic meds made in other countries ). But MRIs revealed that the mass in his brain, which has been so well behaved for so long, had decided to move. So I now have a lifetime's worth of memories of driving my husband to radiation treatments every day for 5 weeks. With any luck, this is something WunderGuy and I can reminisce about together for years and years to come...

* This summer, while I was walking Kestrel, a nasty bad Midwestern storm blew in from Lake Michigan. Not only did it catch us in it (I walked the last 1/2 mile in rain so hard I could literally not see my feet), but it dropped a 100+ year old maple tree on our house. And our car. Insurance came to the rescue and the roof of the house is fixed. As for the car... Not so much. Every time I drive it, I'm hit with memories.

* I spent several days in Burbank at my first-ever script pitch conference. Learned a lot. Reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. Made a lot of promising contacts but failed to make a sale. ::sigh:: But while I was there, I was able to hang out with my very good friend Karen, who I haven't seen since 2005. And eat a fabulous Thai dinner with her. I adore filling my memories with friends and good food!

There are so many more memories for which I'm grateful: movies watched with friends, "game nights" full of laughter, my god-daughter's birth, stargazing and swimming with my child... I doubt there's enough money in the world to induce me to trade any of them.

Shortly after WunderGuy and I were married, my grandmother died of pancreatic cancer. My grandfather died a few years later of a broken heart and Alzheimer's. His demise was terrible for us. But in the end, he was left alone with his memories. And they were good ones. He was so sad about losing my grandma -- his constant companion for 53 years. Somehow, for him, it was preferable to succumb to losing the present in order to revisit his past. When he died, he took all of his memories with him. In the end, they were all he had.

This Christmas, as I am surrounded by those I love, I plan on making a few more wonderful memories. And when I do, I hope I'll remember to be grateful for those who are integral to their creation. Here's wishing you a Christmas full of gratitude-inducing memories as well!


connee's corner said...

Love this tail-end of your 12 days. I have not read any blogs nor posted...shame on me. I'll get busy.

Ami Hendrickson said...

Hi, Connee,
We've missed you at the Writing Practicum! Hope you're happily writing. Thanks for commenting. ;)