Magic of Lovin'
Last year - a few months before Christmas, I began to lose weight. Just a few ounces here and there... not too noticeable. By mid-November, I had lost 15 pounds - 15 pounds I couldn't afford to lose. The inevitable medical appointments ensued. I had "gravel" in both kidneys but worse than that, I had a tiny hole in my stomach and food wasn't being absorbed. Couple that with a very high metabolic rate and I could eat you under the table and be a pound lighter in the morning. The doctors agreed that the surgeries could wait until after the holidays - nothing to worry about.
We flew to Washington, DC to spend time with friends and were planning to take the shuttle to Manhattan for a week of shopping, dining, and pleasure. It was our Christmas gift to each other. That Sunday, I slept late while Cowboy connected with his buddies and when I wasn't up by mid-morning, he came in to wake me. He couldn't wake me; I was burning with fever and he and David took me to the hospital. My stomach condition had worsened and couldn't be ignored any longer. They operated the next morning; kept me sedated until they could take care of the kidney stones the next day.
I was fully awake Wednesday evening but would not be discharged before Friday. We were due to fly home on Saturday because Cowboy had military matters to attend to on Monday. Going to Manhattan the week after Thanksgiving was simply not going to fit into our Christmas plans.
I was okay for a while and getting stronger but we had to curtail quite a few Christmas functions, making our holiday a much quieter one than we had planned. By the time the New Year rolled around, my weight had dropped to the low 90's and I went back in for more surgery.
It took more than a year for my weight to get close to normal and during that year, I was under the weather more often than I had ever been - mostly upper respiratory distress. Cowboy has always been protective and those protective instincts went into overdrive after those surgeries.
So... this year, he went overboard to make sure my Christmas was extra special.
A couple of weeks before Christmas, he came home from work to find me reading in bed...
"You okay, bambina?"
"Mmmm," I hummed as I reached up to kiss him hello.
"You sure?" he asked as he sat on the side of the bed and pulled me up for a hug.
"You've been good for a really long time, bella. You sure you feel okay?"
"How long has it been?" I asked, rolling my eyes.
"This might be day 4," he said in a hushed tone as if that was a great feat.
I pinched him.
"I don't mind a quiet Sar," he told me, "but I like my feisty Sar better. I get suspicious when you're too good for too long," he teased.
"Well... since I've been soooooo good, am I getting a pony for Christmas?"
"Thought you wanted a unicorn," he reminded me.
"I do... but that's an impossible dream," I replied.
"Sometimes..." he paused while he looked directly into my eyes. "... even impossible dreams come true."
"From your mouth to God's ear," I smiled at the giant squid's words. Sometimes, I think Christmas brings out the little boy in him.
Between that time and Christmas Eve, I made sure I was naughty enough to suit him and he and I enjoyed this thing we do and all the lovely afters that followed.
Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are personal times for us and we always spend those nights by ourselves. We might have folks over earlier in the day or go to someone's home for dinner, but the evening is ours alone. Cowboy always makes plans for those nights; whatever we do is up to him. This year, he told me to bundle up because we were driving to one of the mountain passes - about an hour away where there is a great deal of snow - and were going to take a sleigh ride.
I bundled up fast; I was really excited.
The sleigh was red and sat off to the side of a barn and if the big man who greeted us wasn't Kris Kringle... well, you could have fooled me. He was rotund with snow-white hair and red cheeks and his "Ho-Ho-Ho" sounded just like I imagined Santa would sound. I didn't see any reindeer but he walked us over to a paddock behind the barn and there was the most beautiful horse I have ever seen. Pitch black - shiny coat - and huge - a Pergerón, the French version of the American Budweiser Clydesdale. He gave me a carrot to offer the horse and when the giant beast lowered its head to take it from me, I took my mittens off to stroke his beautiful head. He felt like silk and I was enchanted with the horse's beauty and its gentleness.
When the horse was hitched to the sleigh, the Santa man handed the reins to Cowboy and we were off. The night was clear and the snow, white and bright and the horse easily pulled the sleigh, clipping along at a steady pace. We flew along the snow-covered path until we came to a clearing not far from the edge of one of the many mountain snow covered forests and Cowboy reined in the horse, bringing the sleigh to a halt. I was snuggled in Cowboy's arms and under the lap robe and very content to stay awhile and enjoy the night when he pointed toward the forest.
"Look, bambina," he whispered.
"Do you believe in magic?"
At first, I didn't see anything except the snow and the trees off in the distance and then...
I saw the flanks of a small white horse - a pony, I thought. It seemed to be turning in circles as it slowly made its way toward us, almost as if it were dancing to a tune I couldn't hear. Its white coat blended with the snow and it wasn't until it pranced closer that I saw the horn... right in the middle of its head... a unicorn.
"How in the world...?" I stuttered... and looked at Cowboy.
"If you believe strong enough..." he murmured.
I watched the mythical creature dance. It tossed its head sending the mane flying, wisps of silvery white catching my eyes. The hooves were also white and I was hard pressed to tell you whether the creature stood on the snow or in it. Its performance was far too short but I knew I'd see it again and again in one of my sweetest memories.
"Happy Christmas, mia adore," Cowboy murmured, kissing me.
The "unicorn" never got close enough for me to see how someone had adhered a horn to its head. I don't know how it stayed in place throughout its dance. I don't know what signals its trainer gave to make it dance and twirl in the snow. I don't know how Cowboy arranged for all this to happen. And I don't need to know the answers to those questions. I only know that I wanted a unicorn for Christmas - I've always wanted one - a child's dream - and my husband made that impossible dream come true.
When I found my voice again, I told Cowboy that we should have taken a picture because no one would ever believe me.
"Do you believe, bambina?" he asked.
"Oh yes, I believe," I told him and I do.
"That's the magic of Christmas," he said, hugging me tight.
"Maybe..." I remember telling him as I hugged him back. "But you made my dream come true and that's the magic of loving."