Thursday, December 25, 2008

"O, O, O!"

What a lovely surprise I had this Christmas morning; a Secret Santa left an Obama plant on my doorstep! It's definitely one of a kind. The pot is made of chalkboard, and there's a piece of chalk tucked into the ribbon. Growing on the twigs are pictures of Obama, including one of him sitting under a portrait of Mohammed Ali and one bearing the slogan: "Pointy headed professors for Obama!"

Is someone trying to tell me something about the shape of my cranium? Hmmmmm?

In the middle of preparing for their own holiday, someone had an idea, put it together with great care, and snuck it onto my doorstep so it would welcome me on Christmas morning as I took out the trash. Whoever you are, your thoughtfulness and fun smiled my world. Thank you! x

It's been a tough old lead-up to Christmas in many ways, but it's also been full of little lovelinesses. My mum arrived from England only to end up in the hospital. I had never been inside the doors of Parkland before, and all I can say is I've fallen in love. Expect to see a post soon on how to become a "Friend of Parkland." I watched people off the street wearing blankets receive the same courtesy and care as the best dressed and sweetest smelling of patients (that's you, mum!).

Parkland is your basic Ford model of hospital, not your Honda Element. The wheelchairs are metal and have no cushions, and my mum spent most of her first day alongside rather a lot of inmates from the county jail who were chained to their trolleys and wearing nifty striped gear.

The eventual journey to a shared wardroom was a hoot. Mum was parked on a clearly labeled "launch pad" to begin her trip, and as Joy explained, grinning, to her Gran: "In a few minutes, they'll push a button, and you'll shoot up through the ceiling!" The journey was, thankfully, a little smoother than that.

Here are some Santas--secret and not so secret--that I want to thank this Christmas:

The doctors and nurses of Parkland. Mum is safe at home, having a snooze after the Christmas morning unwrapping, thanks to you.

My daughters. Joy and Lizzy, you have been incredible, shopping till you dropped on Christmas Eve and helping get the house warm, welcoming, and Christmasified for Gran's return. You worked all day after hours spent at the hospital the day before. Not a complaint was heard though I know you were exhausted. Your silly jokes, nutty songs, kindness, and endless patience with the process kept us all going. You are the two most beautiful people I know.

Our secret policeman. I don't know your name, but you snuck Lizzy and me the secret way from Parklands emergency room through to Children's Medical Hospital ER and out the other side because their canteen was open late, and they had cheese! (Texas hospitals--and not just the public ones--are where vegetarians go to starve!)

Anne Savidge. My hero, my friend. You stayed with mum all day Christmas Eve so the girls and I were free to get ready for Christmas. Joy and Lizzy didn't get Thanksgiving on the right day because I was in a different--posher!--hospital with a dear student. Though there was never a word of complaint on either occasion, I was determined they would get their Tofurkey dinner on time this time. Thank you for helping make it happen.

Though I run the risk of going on and on and on and sounding like a very bad speaker at the Oscars, I have to say thank you as well to all the lovely friends who stayed in touch with me through some of the scary times during the last few days and who sent messages and made offers of help. You are all my Christmas.

Finally, to my lovely secret santa, whoever you are: THANK YOU X

"O, O, O: Merry Christmas!"


  1. Oh gosh, I am SO relieved your mum is home! I've been thinking and thinking about y'all and hoping things were going well.

    I'll call you tomorrow!

  2. You have been OUTED, McQuillen! You are the secret planter of plants! You are the mystery 1am visitor! You told me you could neither confirm nor deny the accusation since, as a philosopher, you have only doubt. However, the not-party-goers last night have a question for you about that assertion: Are you sure?


  3. How did I miss this comment?? The only thing I'm sure of is that I must take a stand somewhere in order to doubt in the first place!