This week I flew down to Orlando for business meetings. A flight down in the afternoon, meetings in the morning and a flight back that afternoon. I don’t fly as much as I used to so I lost my status, which means I board in zone 4 and sit way back in seat 30-something. Throughout the flight, I flail my right arm in the air. I’m exercising but to the everyday citizen I look as though I am drowning or having some kind of fit. I’m becoming someone I usually try to avoid. An annoyance to sit near, I too wish I could move my seat far away from me. It’s the classic story, no matter where you go you take your problems with you. In my case, it’s my arm with 24 missing Lymph nodes. Exercising in flight helps keep Lymphademia at bay and that is what I intend to do. Of course, I don’t think I’ll be making any friends. When I first started to travel I was in my mid 20’s. Back then; I usually ended up with someone’s card in my pocket and a story to tell. Now I am the story!
Lent began yesterday and I’m back at the beads again. This year I hope to send good karma out into the world and find a state of peace within. Fingers crossed there are no lumps or bumps to discover. I’ve got 40 days to also decide what to do about Easter. My sister Colleen said, “We know you can do an amazing job. I wouldn’t bother trying to impress us this year.” I gave an agreeable grunt in reply. I have so much travel between now and then I don’t think I could impress anyone even if I wanted to.
Easter is my favorite holiday and it is partly because I stole it eighteen years ago. In my family, holidays are owned and traditionally it is only by inheritance that you can take one over. My Uncle Paul owned all of them and he wasn’t’ letting go anytime soon. At the time I had read one too many Martha Stewart magazines, which stirred my biological holiday clock. My longing to own a holiday was insatiable. The desire to put together a festive table and a delicious meal was just pounding in my heart and head. I knew my talents would flourish celebrating that holiday. Just as my wanting was hitting a crescendo, Colleen became pregnant with twins. The Easter of 1994 was my moment to break the holiday monopoly and do the unthinkable… steal a holiday. The reason so small and yet significant; Colleen was too big to travel.
Phone calls went round and round. One sister to another sister to my mother and father. My sisters were thrilled with my plan and my father was agreeable. It was my mother who was caught in the crossfire. She had to choose between her siblings and her children. There was one irrefutable fact: Colleen couldn’t travel because she was carrying her grandchildren.
“Just this once Mae, we’ll have Easter at your place.” My mother sighed in resignation. She loved the holidays as they were.
“Just this once.” Music to my holiday-yearning ears. I had one shot to take over the holiday. A strategic holiday coup, so to speak. I dove in with enthusiasm. I wanted my family to just dream about my celebrations. I wanted to exceed their wildest imaginations. I planned with abandon setting my hopes on, “Just this once.” Of course I won the holiday wrestle with my Uncle. I only won my immediate family but the holiday became one of our favorites.
As I sit here now I’m wondering where all of that unbridled enthusiasm went. It’s as though I ran out of holiday steam. Deep breath, I have forty days to get it back.