Always Room for One Last Wish

DSC_1389The arrival of the holidays this year blew in with the fierceness of an Atlantic storm. I didn’t see it creep up in the midst of OT and PT appointments, work and the planning of a brand new kitchen. Suddenly, it was right in front of me and I was thrust into the task of gift shopping, food shopping, cleaning and organizing. Invites to parties popped up, writing deadlines glowed like the lights on our tree and a tsunami of frenzy flowed through the city. It’s a holiday stress that seems inconsequential but it’s enough to light up your joints like the flaming holiday bulbs, and invite Scrooge to spoil the festivities.

My jumbled energy seemed to block out my usual cheer of the season. One night, on a way to a concert, I heard the first chiming notes of a song I loved from my childhood, and my agitated state was replaced by an unexpected serenity. Later that evening, I lounged in our living room, watching our tree glimmering in the window, filling the room with a warm sparkle of colors. Outside the chill air was infused with the scent of gingerbread, cinnamon, and the sharp tang of cranberries. A gentle heat radiated from the oven, weakening the wrath of my sore joints, snuffing out their inflammation in the exquisite aroma of homemade cookies and egg nog. The rosy skirt encircling the base of the tree, stirred the memories of childhood: the anticipation of Christmas morning, the glossy presents clinging mutely to their secrets. A new doll? A game? A music player? The distant memory of the harmonious sounds of carols flowing from the radio as my brother and I sat amidst the remains of wrapping paper, my parents lingering over coffee. It was a precious time, a magical moment that I could summon at any time, even in the midst of holiday chaos.DSC_1331

Those magical moments seem to dissipate in adulthood, but I still can still find the child within myself crafting a mental list to Santa. What do I want for Christmas? I want to wake in the morning and find our crimson stockings filled with promise; I want everyone to have a little cheer over the holidays; I want to find delight in the little things; I want arthritis to take an extended vacation, leaving us to curl up in a warm place with the people we love, cradled by the joy of the holiday season. I put my childhood faith in the delicate hope that I can add always add one more item on my wish list: a cure for all sufferers of arthritis. It probably won’t happen this year, but I like to imagine it’s waiting to be discovered amid the candy cane forests of promising goals. Besides, you never know what gifts can be found simply by believing in a little bit of magic.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season in whatever you choose to celebrate at this time of the year – even it if it’s just the joy of being alive.


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  1. Irma on December 22, 2014 at 7:04 am

    What a lovely tree. Light has such significance for us, especially at this time of year, it seems. Every twinkling light is a wish waiting to be fulfilled. Hope your most desired wish gets closer to being granted this coming year. A cure would be ever so welcome.

    • J.G. Chayko on December 22, 2014 at 7:59 am

      I wish you health and wellness this season, hoping the lights will fill you with warmth, love, creativity and healing energy. A very happy holiday season to you and yours. Be well.

  2. Wren on December 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

    What a beautiful post, JG! I absolutely love the imagery you invoked. My favorite? “…the candy cane forests of promising goals.”

    I hope the Old Lady tucks herself away in the attic for the holidays and lets you enjoy them pain-free and with the joy of childhood. Merry Christmas! And may you have a joyful and prosperous New Year. 😀

    • J.G. Chayko on December 22, 2014 at 8:01 am

      Thank you Wren. I love that line too 🙂 I wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas filled with wishes to be granted. Hoping that the joy of the season snuffs out your dragon for a good long while. Hugs.

  3. Lynne on December 22, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Merry Christmas, JG! Beautiful post and heartfelt wishes for health and happiness to you.

    • J.G. Chayko on December 22, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      Thank you Lynne. A very Happy Christmas to you and yours. Here’s to a New Year filled with health, good fortune and happiness. Best, J.G.

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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.