Joy from Karin Beery
Christmas 2006: my family had our first pictures taken with our newest member, five-month old Ella. You’d never know by looking at it, but those photos were the only thing we did as a family that entire holiday. Though I wouldn’t call 2006 my favorite Christmas memory, it’s easily the most memorable. Why? Ten adults, five cats, three bathrooms, two little girls, and one nasty stomach bug.
One month after our first wedding anniversary, my husband and I rendezvoused with my sisters at our parents’ house for Christmas. My younger sister’s friend was also staying there with her three cats. Matt and I brought two with us. My older sister came with a husband, a seven year-old, and the five month old. My aunt was there too, and so was my younger sister’s boyfriend.
There were literally people everywhere, filling every bed and couch. The five cats prowled, constantly spotting each other and growling. There was nothing peaceful about it, but it was family and it was the holidays. I loved sharing the familiar chaos with my new husband. Less than 24 hours after we all got together, however, the real chaos began.
My brother-in-law started it. A week before Christmas the human incubator carried a stomach bug across the country, through two airports, and into my parents’ house. As one would expect, his wife caught it first. She shared it with everyone else. For four days we took turns celebrating, feasting, and trying to avoid the sickies. The virus hit in waves, crashing into one person after another. We were never all together again as someone was always in the bathroom.
Too often in my adult life I find myself at home alone when I’m sick. It’s painful, tiring, and lonely. That year I had a house full of people to care for me, and I got to take care of them. I can think of a dozen ways I’d rather spend Christmas, but if I have to get sick, I’m glad it happened with the people I love the most.
A freelance writer/editor/coach, wife, care giver, and homemaker, Karin Beery has published over 350 articles in various periodicals, in addition to writing her novels. She is an active member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, Evangelical Press Association, and Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website, www.karinbeery.com.