A Surprise Christmas Present

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I asked for a guitar so I can learn how to play, and yes, was totally surprised to actually get one. When my nephew dragged the big box in front of me, I had no clue what it was, despite handling boxes of that same size regularly at work because we often get guitars for artists to sign. So I was jazzed about that, but that wasn't the big surprise. Or at least, not the best one. Let me back up.

I spent Christmas with my sister, brother-in-law, and 7 year old nephew. I got off work Christmas morning about 3:30am, and arrived at their house at 4:30am. I put my presents for them under the tree (Santa had already brought Thomas his new Mongoose bike and Wave Board--do they still call them "Boogieboards"?) I crawled into my nephew's bottom bunk and slept the kind of sleep that you don't really sleep. Well, you sleep but you're mind is just active and aware enough in the expectation that you will be woken up soon anyway, so you keep waking up in preemptive anticipation of it. And then, of course, when you finally DO get deep under, POOF, your nephew wakes you up with a nudging "Uncle! It's Christmas!" And then you hear your sister say, "Yeah, and it's 7am. Sorry."

But I knew what I was getting into when I crawled into bed, so it was all good. I turned over to face my nephew and noticed he had lost one of his front teeth. His first. I hugged him and then my sister did the unthinkable. She took a picture...I paraphrased Bobcat Goldthwait, "That was a gift. Do NOT take eyesight for granted." Once the flash had worn off and I could see again, I dragged myself into the other room.

I hugged my brother-in-law and heard my sister say, "Show him." He said, "We got an early Christmas gift" and directed me to look down at the counter. There was an EPT, the digital kind, and it clearly said "Pregnant."

This was cause for great joy. My sister has been fighting thyroid cancer for almost 9 years now. She beat it enough early on that they had Thomas. Then, about 3 years ago, it returned and began attacking again. She had major radiation treatments (one big one each year) but the last two years it seems to have only kept the cancer at bay. It's not going away, but it's not progressing much either. And she's getting to the point that if she has too many more major doses, the radiation may begin to CAUSE complications...like perhaps give her leukemia. That's no good. She's a been a trouper, and my hero through all of this...it saps her energy (she's a go-go-go type of person) and yet she's kept a pretty good attitude about it. Earlier this year, tho, she decided not to have any radiation treatments this year...partly out of frustration, and partly because she and Darin wanted to try to have another baby. She got pregnant in mid-July, but lost the pregnancy just a few weeks later. It's surprising to learn how often that happens. MANY pregnancies don't take, and sometimes are lost before people even know they are pregnant. Not to downplay the impact of a miscarriage, not at all, but learning how common it is helped her put it in perspective. As well, her faith in God kept her head straight. Kim was bummed, but not discouraged, and knew that God's hand was going to guide her.

Looking at the EPT, I asked, "When did you take this?" She said, "This morning." (She'd woken at 6am to take the test.) Last time, Kim and Darin told pretty much everyone right away...which is what people say you're not supposed to do...just in case you lose the pregnancy. This time, though, they are TRYING to be choosy with who they tell. (I know I know, this blog kinda defeats that purpose, but none of you really know them.) But it's only been 3 days and it's been hard for them to not share it. It's GOOD news, it's a total blessing. Of course, there is still the chance that it won't keep. My sister is 38, and believes she's nearing her last chance to have another child, because in '07, she's going to have to revisit the cancer treatments, or find an alternative sooner. So we're praying that this time around, the coincidence of learning about it on Christmas morning is God's providence, and that it is His will that this pregnancy 'take' and last.

So I got a guitar, Thomas got a BUNCH of stuff (I got him "Heelies"—those roller-skate tennis shoes), Darin got a USC Poker Chip set (from me), and my sister got pregnant. It was a great Christmas. Praise God.