Tonight is Christmas Eve. Thinking about watching my son's face open his presents in the morning, has me just as excited as I felt waiting for the morning when I was a kid. My most memorable Christmas Eve is a tie. The one I got engaged, (which I will tell about in detail separately) and one that probably wouldn't be considered happy, but all the same was wonderful. If that makes sense.
The year was 1998. Do you like how I said that like I'm a legit story teller? :) I was 15 years old. My daddy was very sick with cancer. My older brother was home from college. I remember him coming home and telling me 'man, dad looks bad. Looks really bad. I don't know how I'm going to able to do this, seeing him like this.' As I look back now, as an adult, I realize how tough it was. Tough to see my daddy...the daddy who's rough callused (sp?) hands scratched my back every night, his strong arms lifted bails of hay in 90+ degree weather, he carried me on his back (even when I was 14 and we were at disney world and I was sick of walking!), he did push ups and sit-ups every morning at the crack of dawn, chin ups on the basement bar, ran 5k races, and even did 20 pushups as soon as he was in the recovery room of his first cancer surgery. And then to see him at a state where he's just around 100lbs of skin and bones and hasn't been able to eat real food in months, just shakes of ground up food. His face is so deformed from the tumor, that no one would recognize him. His speech is hard to understand and the pain medication makes him act like he's not himself sometimes. This was the scene of my junior year of high school.
This particular Christmas Eve, he was in a bad amount of pain. He was one tough dude and I don't throw that around. So the fact that he was really struggling this night was hard. I remember he wanted to call 'Bob'.
Bob is a family friend. He is our family chiropractor, but that's a minor description on what he is. Him and his family are some of the most generous people you will ever meet. His son Jay, is my brother's age and they have been friends for about 25 years. Steph is Bob's daughter. But no, she is my best friend. We stood up in each other's weddings, cried together when life changed, laughed together over things we shouldn't laugh about, fought through eating disorders, and talked out hours of parenting/marriage/life/spiritual issues that you would only share with your deepest friend.
So when my dad was feeling so physically bad that night, he only felt comfortable to call 'Dr. Bob'. Who, minor detail, is THE best chiropractor ever. It was Christmas Eve, and they have a big family and fun traditions. I don't know how that phone call went, but I remember my parents loading us in the van to go to the Benningfield's..on Christmas Eve. Last minute. And I was excited to see my friend, and maybe have my daddy get some relief.
If you are in work for yourself, like my husband is, you groan when a customer calls you last minute to come 'fix' something. Especially on your days off. Especially on something like Christmas Eve. But not the Benningfields. They had us come right away and didn't make us feel like we were a burden. In fact, Steph had a gift waiting for me when I walked in the door. And I had one for her. BUT what's funny about this, is that we both 're-gifted'haha! We totally laugh about this to this day. I remember scrambling and grabbing a picture frame I had. And she had scrambled and grabbed some Bath and Body works lotion she had received.
I remember my dad leaving there feeling physically better. And all of us feeling better emotionally. And grateful. So thankful. In a way, I feel like it saved Christmas. That family's unselfish generosity that seemed so second nature for them, is something I will never forget.
That was the last Christmas I had with my daddy. And I am grateful that it was so memorable. I remember we got a tv that year, a tv that is now obsolete. Who freakin' cares about that tv? This was the stuff that matters.