It's been... a year. A lot of year. A whole lot of GoodBadGoodBad year. But, and I'm deeply, truly, unbelievably grateful for this, it has been a more good than bad year. That sounds so simple and banal so I have to repeat it - this, this year, has been MORE GOOD THAN BAD. For the first time in six years this year, as tumultuous as it has been, has been a good year.
I'll do a summation later but to catch up on the most recent, just a few days after we knew that a BeSurgeried person was going to stick around for a while to give a bit of grief to doctors and generally make life a whole lot more fun, my parents called me up to announce that they would like to drop by with a Christmas present.
I pointed out, not unreasonably, that we were going to see them on Christmas Eve and, it seemed, a gift exchange at that point was fairly likely. My father hinted mysteriously that he thought it would be good to give this Christmas gift a bit early.
Now, keep in mind that in my family this could mean anything - absolutely anything. "We thought this singing, stuffed aardvark that we find particularly amusing would be just the early Christmas gift you need." (note: I am totally and utterly guilty of this myself. I spent a very happy afternoon putting together a belly-dancing costume kit for my poor sister which involved a VERY large red bra and plastic googly eyes among other things. It's a sickness but I'm not looking for a cure) Anyway, I know when to take a hint so I agreed that meeting for an early gift exchange was a good idea.
Which is why they showed up on my doorstep with a little gift bag a couple of weeks ago. We chatted, as you do, about this and that, and I dangled that little gift bag from my hand, intending (as I'm sure my parents realized) to just stuff it under the tree and open it on Christmas day. Which is why my mother, firmly, said, "I think we'd REALLY LIKE TO SEE YOU OPEN YOUR PRESENT NOW." And, recognizing that particular timbre, I obediently opened the bag.
To find an envelope.
A very slim envelope.
With just one thing in it - a check, from the US Labor Dept.