I have a tendency to get my Christmas shopping completed early. Which, in and of itself should be a good thing, but I decide every year as the holidays begin to seep into the air, that this will be the year I won't start before Thanksgiving.( I think sometimes shopping early makes me overspend or buy a little more than I should. All a result of, sort of liking to be be in the stores close to Christmas.)
Each year, when I decide to not start as early, the (worry-wart) side of me always has a nagging, unrealistic thought in the back of my mind, "What if something ever happens to me in December? I need to have it done!" (I once confided this to a friend and she laughed.)
Luke's birthday is November 2nd. I don't even think of Christmas before then. But typically, in the days following his birthday I begin planning, looking, and buying.
Last Tuesday, December 1st, at about 1:45pm, I purchased the last of the Christmas presents for my children. Four hours later I was in a hospital ER. Eight hours later, I was being admitted to the hospital and told I could be there anywhere from 5-7 days.
Although the pain from my pancreas was severe and relentless, one of my nagging thoughts was, "I am so glad my Christmas shopping is done!" My other nagging thought, which I voiced several different times to medical personnel was, "It is the Christmas season! I have 5 children! I do not have time for this. I can NOT stay here very long."
My two day stay surprised even the doctor, but not me. A determined mother, who can have all her Christmas cards mailed out, and her children's Christmas shopping completed by December 1st is capable of far greater things, including willing a pancreas to settle down so I could get released from the hospital. (The cards and shopping may have been done-but there was a tree that needed to be put up, and all sorts of other Christmas "stuff" still weighing on my mind.)
I will say though, during the first day at the hospital, when lamenting my woes to a friend about not having time to lay in a hospital bed, she advised me, "Try to chill and take this time to think about or read things or whatever that you don't normally have time for during your usual busy life. Practice patience, patient."
I took her advice, and by the second day, I decided to feel relaxed that I had nothing to do (okay, so I did have to make a few phone calls and answer a handful of emails), but for the most part, I did nothing! I surfed Facebook and Instagram more closely than usual. I read a cheesy Christmas book that was quite charming, and likely would never have justified during "real life", and I actually did some online Christmas shopping right there in a hospital bed from my smart phone!
Although I felt antsy in many ways, I had an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction and contentment that my children's shopping was 100% done. (And had informed Mike of my hiding places while in the ER "in case I die.") Nothing was done for parents or a few others, but I knew they would not be as disappointed as children on Christmas morning.
I've identified myself as a worrier, since 7th grade when the headmistress at my school told my parents I was one. (I still have no idea how SHE of all people in the school would know that about me, not to mention, what exactly WAS I WORRYING about when I was 13 years old????????
Most of my worries are irrational and few of them are ever proven to come to pass. But, I will tell you that
my decade and a half worry of "What if something ever happens to me in December?" question has been proven to have some sort of validity. (So take that BFF who once laughed at my question, and my eye-rolling husband.)
Don't be surprised if I start next year's Christmas shopping in January.