So, remember when I said that Christmas is for kids, and that all those screaming kids put me in a very Christmas mood? Turns out I was right.
My niece is 4 1/2, and she was so excited that she infected the rest of us, too. It was fun and full of laughter and gentleness and family affection. My dad and brother got along pretty well, mom was up and awake and a little more like her old self. My SIL and her mother got along pretty well, that can at times be a difficult.
We did Christmas presents on Christmas eve. I spent way too much on my niece, and had nice interesting gifts for the rest of the family, too. I got some nice things, a good bottle of wine, some pretty place mats, gift certificate to Home Depot, and lots of fun time with family.
Christmas day we went to church, then went to Bro and SIL's house for Christmas Dinner. The Hungarian tradition is to have fish for Christmas, so every year we have fish. This year it was a white fish, very good. But SIL still likes salmon, so we had an appetizer of french bread with cream cheese spread topped with smoked salmon and cucumber. mmm smoked salmon.
Sunday after noon mom and dad left to go Illinois, Bro went to work (he has an excellent extra-job, security $40/hour Double time for Christmas, then time and a 1/2 for regular shift), it was just me and SIL, her mother and my niece. We played Wii, ate sweets, drank a little alcohol and just enjoyed time together.
There was one small dark spot. My parent's have 2 cats. When I got home wednesday, they asked me to go look at her, she was a little sick. She wasn't a little sick, her gums were completely white, her ears were completely white and cold and she was so very lethargic. This was one very sick cat. The vet was open Christmas Eve morning, we were the first ones in. She was so very dehydrated he couldn't get any blood. Finally we did a toe clip and managed to get the necessary 3 drops of blood, and she tested POSITIVE (that's very quickly positive) for Feline Leukemia. There wasn't anything that could be done, good food, a good life and regular vaccinations helped her live for several years longer than she would have in the wild. Because he couldn't get any sort of a vein, he overdosed her on anesthesia, and when she was asleep enough he would do a cardiac injection of the medication to put her down. As sick as she was, it might not even take the extra medicine. However, because her blood pressure was so low, it was taking quite a long time for the anesthesia to work. We had to leave her there with the vet, and mom and dad would pick her up next week and bury her at home. While it was hard, there was peace that it was done before Christmas. There wouldn't be the worry over their vacation, and their other cat, LC, would be happier as a single cat. But still, it was hard. It was, finally, a peaceful passing. An overdose of anesthesia, she just went to sleep. But still, hard.
Dear God, Thank you for the gift of your Son, the reason for this thankful season. Thank you for the peaceful and pleasant Christmas. Thank you for good food to eat, warm houses, and money for presents. Remind us that all good things come from you. Thank you for the time spent with beloved pets, even though we know that our time with them is limited. Remind us that like all things, our time in this world is short and that we must love and live in the time we are given. Amen.