I am in Cleveland with my in-laws now. More specifically, I am wearing my jim-jams (AKA pajamas) while flopped in bed with a heating pad while my in-laws and Husband go to church. It was sixty degrees earlier, but now I can hear some wicked wind coming off Lake Erie — which is actually across the street, believe it or not. The coolest thing is when the lake freezes in the dead of winter. Sometimes boats get stuck in the ice.
So I’m floating on Vicodin and writing a blog post when I should be with my family. I should be able to go to church, even if that doesn’t mean anything to me personally. I’ve gone to church every year on Christmas for as long as I can remember. My father is an extremely devout Catholic, and we’ve butted heads more times than not on the role of faith in my healing process — turning my problems over to God, etc. God has let me and everyone I know down more times than I can count. Despite that, I always showed up to church on Christmas because that’s what our family did, and going with my family was always fun.
I have many food allergies because of an unrelated autoimmune condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis (stay with me, this is actually relevant to my story). This disease, called EE for short, causes the eosinophils, or white blood cells, in my esophagus to treat certain foods as the enemy. A bad reaction for me is when my throat swells and causes vomiting. It’s not quite anaphylaxis, though it keeps me from eating wheat/gluten, dairy, fish, and peanuts. I used to be “allergic” to many more foods, to the point where I was eating medical powder shakes.
Now you have the background. Church was always fun because my brother is absurd. He’s turning 30 this year, and we’ve been best friends for as long as we can remember. We’ll call him “Brother.” Anyway, Brother leans over at one point during Mass when everyone but me is going for communion and eating the wafer-shaped Body of Christ, and he whispers, “Jesus is filled with gluten!”
So basically I’m allergic to Jesus.
The point is, I enjoy going to church on Christmas. And this year, my first time spending Christmas in Cleveland, I’m too wiped out from traveling to even make an appearance. Our flight was at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m., and even though I downed several cups of coffee, I still ended up napping for close to three hours upon our arrival. When I woke up I was dressed and ready to go, my hair and makeup done, and I still ended up climbing the stairs to the guest bedroom, where my cervical pillow and heating pad were waiting for me.
It’s probably for the best. This way I can try to conserve energy for tomorrow, when all the relatives come over. Husband’s young cousins, aged approximately 5 and 7, have been instructed not to jump on me. Hopefully they listen this time.