It’s Christmas eve, the night my family celebrates with each other. But not me. I went to work for all those patients who needed emergency surgery, though most weren’t what I would classify as emergent. Who cares, it pays the bills. And while my family, who were 80 miles away, fought over ham, I made my way to Denny’s for overcooked mozzarella sticks and dry chicken tenders with honey mustard. While my family fought over what time to open presents, I fought with two dogs over who got the last french fry.
And while my family grumbled even though they were together and not alone, I was greeted by a John Deere tractor strung with Christmas lights and pulling a trailer full of strangers driving down my street yelling, “Merry Christmas,” and handing out candy canes. They even gave me a candy cane for my dog that chased them down the street. It was nice, but I was still without my family to share in the wonderful gesture.
And while my family was safe with each other two counties away, I nearly bludgeoned my boyfriend’s daughter with a bat as she showed up pleasantly unexpected. And while my family sat together so far away, I was blessed to be able to have a cellphone to tease my oldest son and brother about the night’s events.
And while my family sits safely around a warm fire, I sit in bed with a dog who suffers from a miserable case of separation anxiety, another dog with depression, a cat who is out to get me, and a cat who has single handidly (or pawdly) decreased the sparrow population in the desert by half as a warning to me.
And while my family may not realize what they have with each other, despite all their different personalities and opinions, I hope they enjoy the Christmas they get to spend with my joyful daughter while I spent the day with patients who weren’t always pleasant. And despite all of this, I hope they realize that even after years of squabbling, bickering, complaining, and anxiety, that they get together every year, every holiday, because when it comes right down to it, our little family is all we have.
Merry Christmas to my family in Los Angeles, CA.