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Jolly, Messy, Feisty, Bubble Captioned Christmas Season
Do you love Christmas & all that the tradition brings with it? Do you embrace absolutely everything about the season or do you wish you could run away screaming from some of the inevitable events that the season brings each year? You know that I have been given an off the Richter scale sentimental heart. Even with my sentimental heart though there is a part of me that is bracing yet again for the month of December & early January.
The parts about Christmas that are favourites, I love & the portions of the season that I don’t like, I really detest beyond words. And Christmas with type 1 diabetes I have found is complicated. It is not just complicated because there is more food & missing carb data, but there is also more pressure for things that in my mind are not natural to occur. There is the unspoken rule that we must appear to be having the best holiday season ever & that we are perfect hosts & hostesses. If we are feeling unwell, we must continue on it seems. There is so much to do in such a short time to work towards a perfect Christmas. What is perfect though? And really, does that exist? We each answer that question for ourselves. As often as possible, I try to laugh more during the holidays. And I choose to not participate in things that don’t make sense to & for me. Also, I value the uncomplicated yet full of love moments. That can be an uphill battle I have found over the past 6 Christmas seasons living with type 1.
Do you ever feel like you are the teacher from the Charlie Brown show? It is the one that sounds like, “wah, wah, wha.” You & I may share the experience that although we have advocated the heck out of type 1 that others have interpreted our words like the teacher from Charlie Brown. I find it exasperating to be told what I should & should not eat at the best of times yet during the Christmas season, it is a heightened sensation. And hearing unsolicited advice that if I did not do as much in terms of holiday preparations that I would have magical blood sugars is not music to my ears. Come on, it does not work that way on an ordinary day much less during Christmas. I would love to say at times as a retort, “save it.” If each one of us walked around with a bubble caption above our heads it might be a hoot especially during the holidays.
Of course those around us mean well. That’s great. What is not so great is when we choose to be crystal clear about what will be helpful & what will not be & folks choose to discount this or do the exact opposite. Why do they do that? That is a good question. I have found that a vast number of people that I have come across tend to do this because they are comfortable doing things the same way or the way they have always been done. That drives me personally up the wall. If something does not make sense, then why continue to do it the same way? I am not a fan of the comfort zone approach to life. Here’s an example & I hope that it does not sound petty. When I am making a large meal, I need my space in every sense of the word. I find that if folks gather in the kitchen while I am trying to work & organize the meal that my blood sugars ramp up in no time. I will always say to Dear Heart guests that I really appreciate the offer for help in the kitchen however it would really be a huge help if they instead enjoyed themselves by visiting with the rest of the family in either the family room or living room. I have shared more times than I can count with folks that unfortunately my blood sugars skyrocket when I have company in the kitchen while I am preparing a feast. I guess my type 1 diabetes & I take up the whole kitchen in that way. Unfortunately, there are still a few folks that no matter how clearly I explain the kitchen feast zone, they either tell me “oh that’s silly” or “oh you will feel better if I help” or just through actions do the polar opposite of my respectful request. I try to remember that their hearts are in the right places yet it bugs me all the same.
I am not an advocate of appearing to have the perfect Christmas. Instead, my focus is on having a natural, meaningful, other focused Christmas season. A beautiful Christmas I believe would include: the season truly being about the true meaning of Christmas & not consumerism on steroids, people behaving in a more caring fashion towards one another, giving love & kindness to one another & finding ways to reach out to others who are suffering. To me, Christmas magnifies my belief that I need to constantly take my eyes off of myself & place them instead on reaching out in compassion to others. For sure, I have a myriad of pet peeves including the one I mentioned about the kitchen. A place beyond that though is the place where Christmas is at its finest. It is the place where we get to choose to reach deep within ourselves to reach out in care to others out there who also feel the magnification of the season. They may be people who do not have a bed to sleep in, the warmth of shelter, a meal, a family, any friends or they may suffer chronic & even terminal illnesses. They may be folks that are feeling hopeless and alone. There are so many ways to reach out in small ways with compassion & love.
When I think about Christmas 2013, there are 2 things that I keep as my compass throughout the season. One is that I am so grateful to have my childhood sweetheart as my husband, 3 amazing sons to love, family & friends to love, a home in an area that I still pinch myself to be able to live in, healthy food, and everything that truly matters. The second compass is to always be mindful of others within my human family who are struggling in any way. Some people are hungry for food & others hungry for love, caring, compassion, or hope. I am only 1 person, yet I still get to put every ounce of my care into giving love to others in the ways that are whispered to me all year long. That is how I choose to keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year long. When we see someone who is lonely, do we take those precious moments to sit down beside that person & say hi & ask them if they would like some company? How many moments do we miss? With all my heart I know that all joy that I have been given must immediately be given away. I love that. I get that big time. I cannot tell you how many times lately I have had people say to me that they can see that I know them but that they cannot remember where they know me from. Guess what? They are folks that I am just meeting for the first time. I think they get this feeling that we know each other already because I have looked them in the eye & smiled my biggest smile full of presence. My favorite response to people when they ask where they know me from is to say, “You know me from today, the first day we became new friends.” Maybe we cross paths again & maybe not but I carry friendships with me. Once I care about someone & call them friend that to me is for life. That is joy full circle to me.
Yes, some parts of Christmas are an absolute blast & very jolly. Other parts of the season, I find myself subduing my feisty thankfully invisible bubble captained responses. And other parts I laugh my butt off about times when the turkey takes twice as long to cook as I had estimated & we find ourselves eating everything in stages. Better still, I laugh with my heart & soul to see our sons beaming ear to ear while they sing a silly song with reindeer antlers on while dancing the Macarena. I love watching my Dad come in to our home with his Santa hat on & a brand new Christmas book to read our sons on Christmas Eve. I love watching our 3 sons polish off my Mom’s homemade meatballs, sausage rolls, cookies and squares like ravenous beasts. I love singing Christmas carols with friends in the wrong tempo & laughing at ourselves. I love baking & decorating Christmas alligator cookies & then arranging the alligator cookies on the plate with gingerbread boys to make the alligators look like they are chasing the gingerbread boys. It is super fun to eat these cookies with our younger 2 sons as we pretend that the alligators ate the gingerbread so that we can justify eating a couple more cookies by saying that the alligators were extra hungry. I will be forever grateful to be able to crank up my insulin pump & savour anything that I want to over the holidays. I get to choose to respond with humour when someone asks me if it okay for me to be having that café mocha with whip cream with, “let me check with my pancreas” as I look down at my insulin pump & dial up the number of units I will need to cover off my treat & reply, “yes, my pancreas insists!” And it brings joy each year to play the song, “My Christmas Prayer” as loudly as possible & embrace & live those precious words.
My heart’s hope for you is that there are lots of jolly portions present in your holidays, invisible bubble captions for the feisty when needed, and that anything that resembles a mess or not approaching perfection is looked beyond with a smile by choice to the place where the true meaning of Christmas lives.
Blessings, Saundie :)
Well just a wee bit over 2 weeks to go before this year's messy, jolly Christmas festivities. May this be a beautiful & meaningful season for you. Next Monday's sharing is, "The Turning Point Long Ago." :)