A Hopeful Happy Holiday Season from Jean Marie Keenan-Johnston

     The holidays have offered added challenges for me this year.  Everything actually started getting more and more difficult last winter.  It was my first winter when my disability truly challenged by ability to offer my family any kind of holiday experience.  In past years, I had trouble but I was able to somehow rise above it and find some holiday activities I could give my children while skipping the others I couldn’t manage.  But all that changed last winter when I found myself having the toughest time I’d ever experienced during the colder winter months.  I cut down my list of holiday tasks as much as I could…there was no baking cookies, very little crafting with my girls, shopping was done mostly online, and we didn’t go out very often.  Even with cutting back so much, my recovery after Christmas took months.  I was unable to take down the tree until well after Valentine’s Day.  Boxes of decorations sat for weeks waiting to be put away.  Lights hung on my windows for just as long.  As much as I wanted to, I just didn’t have the energy or the pain tolerance to do any better.

This year’s autumn arrival built up a fear in me that this year’s winter months would bring the same sad challenges.  So since Halloween I’ve been working as hard as I can during my better days to get ahead with the household responsibilities that have challenged me the past few years so I could better tackle the extra tasks that come with the holiday season.  My hope is if I can get ahead somehow, maybe I’ll find a way to save myself for just the holiday chores because the rest will already be taken care of…or at least finished enough that it can be put off until after the holiday season is over.  Thanksgiving is nearly here and there’s still a great deal of work to be done before I can even consider putting out any decorations.  But I’m doing my best to maintain my hope and confidence in myself that I’ll somehow overcome my disability enough to turn this chaotic house into a place of holiday joy for the next couple months.  

My “mission” hasn’t left a whole lot of time to put toward other activities (like writing here).  When I am able to get a good amount accomplished, I then lose a few days recovering from the work I did.  I’m hoping the long weekend will give me some extra help (Hubby) combined with less responsibilities to struggle with (school holiday, dance school closed) and I’ll be able to pace myself better and feel some amount of success.  The greatest Christmas gift I could receive?  To be able to actively enjoy some holiday fun without the added flares that usually follow.  For now I’m going to do my best to maintain my hope for a happy holiday season full of fun with my girls.  I wish the same for all of you…a warm holiday season free of the usual burdens daily life holds for each of us.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!