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  • My mother always told me, "Never put off til tomorrow what you can do today!"

    As old fashioned as that sounds, I've found it to be true, and many times it has really saved me from a lot of stress. Also, I guess, being a Virgo and a little OCD doesn't hurt either.

    So, when I was in the hospital and asking the cardiologist when I could go back to work, he said, "Take off a week."

    "A week!" I said.

    (Now this coming from a somewhat workaholic).

    Of course the cardiologist, (not knowing me), seemed surprised at my reaction. I could see a thought crossing his brow and he hesitated then said, - "Now ... don't go Christmas shopping..."

    (I kid you not - he really said that). Which in turn caught me by surprise, and I was speechless!

    I had completed almost all of my Christmas shopping over Thanksgiving weekend. Not by running around stores or malls, but by my trusty I-phone with sales and offers of free shipping. Why should I run myself ragged when I can lie in bed and shop stress/free.

    But the cardiologist couldn't know this.

    Anyway, as I lay in my hospital bed contemplating the stereotypes of women (ha-ha), I thought, "Thank God I shopped early and didn't put things off til tomorrow or I'd be really stressed."

    The gifts for my five grandchildren (my step-daughter's children) were not only purchased but neatly wrapped with little bows and tiny toys tied onto shiny ribbons on the top of each gift, and a Star Wars bag contained the gifts for the little boys to help them anticipate what's inside. Some other gifts for my husband and son would be arriving soon in the mail.

    Yes, I didn't need to trouble my heart about shopping.

    A week of rest and I returned to work. A bit too soon I'm afraid. Had several setbacks which put me back to bed. My mind and will are strong but the flesh becomes weak.
  • Can it be that Christmas is this Friday? Yes.

    Oh, the stockings! Still need stocking stuffers. My husband tells me not to overdo and I promise I won't. Just one store.

    Now you may say to me that I'm just focusing on the commercial part of Christmas and I admit it may appear that way, but it is more than that.

    I must admit that I thought more than once over the past few weeks that if I died the presents under the tree would mean nothing to my son. Grief would put a dark reality on material things.

    But, I'm a believer in traditions. I think they're important. When I was a child my parents went to great lengths to surprise us at Christmas. We could barely sleep with all our excitement as in the morning other gifts would magically appear under the tree.

    One year, along with the Barbie I got, was a little white trunk full of Barbie doll clothes. Many were elaborate. A coat with a fur collar and a sparkly evening dress. My mother (as I learned much later) had sewn every outfit. And if you're a sewer, you know how much work that is to make tiny little doll clothes.

    One of my favorite things though was the Christmas stockings. Just when you think you can't stand any more excitement mom would say, "Don't forget your stockings!" At first they just had oranges and walnuts but as my father made more money we started getting yo-yo's or jacks, or other little gifts.

    As we got older, and the myth of Santa was faded into the past, the excitement of Christmas was still there. When I was sixteen my parents gave me a white wooly bathrobe that wrapped around me like a herd of sheep. I loved that robe. I loved it so much that when I was married in my early thirties I still had that robe. My parents came to visit and when I came out in that robe at breakfast my mother's jaw dropped.

    "You still have that robe?" The robe had numerous bare spots, a big hole under the arm and a ripped hem. "You need a new robe!" mom exclaimed.

    "No, I love this robe!"
    I found out later my mom made my husband promise to get me a new one and throw my old one in the trash. I guess it's time had come.

    So when I think of my teen son I think, "You never know what might be special for him." So I think and I do my best and I always fill the stockings because they're the best part.

    We all need a little sparkle and special love and attention at Christmas and maybe it can manifest a little in a wrapped package or a stocking. Then when we're no longer around the memories still linger on of Barbie doll clothes or a lovely robe and a smile appears in our heart and it skips a little beat.
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