What if I didn't get the Christmas decorations from the basement? What if we didn't put up a tree? Could there still be Christmas - but more important, would I feel the relief I was desperately looking for? Could I come up with a middle road: steer away from the frenzy and head for peace of mind?
Yesterday I received an email, encouraging me to look at this issue from an artistic point of view. Grab the opportunity to come up with a new "CHRISTMAS  CREATION  BY ROOS AND FAMILY". Isn't everything allowed in art? And funnily enough before reading this, I'd already come up with a plan. If you deny your kids the joy of decorating a pine tree, you'd better think of a really worthy substitute.

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The most important lesson I've learned during the entire cancer ordeal is to trust my gut. To follow my radar and don't get sidetracked. Once you start to have more trust in yourself, it's easier to stand up for your beliefs. Besides, when energy is scarce, you simply don't have the stamina to engage in things you don't support one hundred percent.
We have made changes, because we have changed. We are more outspoken, but rarely speak up anymore. We value the simple things and crave simplicity. And now that Christmas is approaching, I'm faced with a problem.

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Volgens Kenji ben ik werkelijk niet goed bij mijn hoofd. Ik ben zoiets als 'adventskalenderverslaafd'. Grote Broer zei het, zonder het te weten, ook al: "Huh? Sinterklaas had vorig jaar ook al een adventskalender gegeven en nou hebben we eentje gekregen én eentje zelf gemaakt?" Ja, die Sint toch... ik kan het niet helpen. Waar ik in voorgaande jaren keurig aftelde tot Kerstmis en verder niks, merk ik dat ik dit jaar met tanden op elkaar de dagen tel. Kom maar op met die lichtjes, kom maar op met die vakantie. Het is zo klaar en ik ben er vooral zelf zo klaar mee.

Gelukkig steken we elke avond een kaarsje meer aan en ontstaat er langzaam een cirkel van licht in deze donkere dagen. Voor wie zelf een adventskalender van kaarsjes wil maken, klik hier!



Kenji says I'm out of my mind. He calls me something like an 'advent calendar addict'. Big Brother unintentionally said something similar: "Huh? Saint Nicholas gave us an advent calendar last year and now we got one again and we made one ourselves as well?" Yes, talk about a crazy Saint. I can't help it... Whereas in the previous years I simply counted the days until Christmas, I notice how this year I'm hanging in there by the skin of my teeth. Bring on those lights, bring on that holiday. Everything is done and over - and I'm so done with it.

Thank goodness for the candles we light every night: one after the other slowly form a circle of light in these dark days. If you'd like to make your own candle advent calendar, click here!


"Thank you for coming with me." I put my arm through Kenji's and together we walk the dreaded path to the hospital. Here. We. Go. Again. We spot the traditional oliebollen stand and look at each other: it feels like yesterday that the stand was there, despite another year having passed. "Nothing changes here", Kenji says wryly. He is right. The f#@*ing Christmas decorations are the same as well. If we were hospital employees, we wouldn't be bothered by this: it would simply be part of the surroundings. Except we don't work there, we are some sort of hostages. Forced to return to the same location over and over again. "Well love, welcome to my job." Another typical example of Kenji's survival humor.

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I'm more dead than alive. But I made it. When the boys returned home from school on Friday, all teary and tense because they both had met Saint Nicholas in the flesh for the first time in their lives ("He knew I had a special Zwarte Piet swimming diploma!" and "He told me I had beaten my friend in soccer five times!"), they found Lego bricks dispersed in the hallway. "Huh? And look, the door is open?" And by a miracle, not only the Saint's bag with presents stood in the living room, but also a huge rectangular present.
Big Brother looked around and wondered where the Lego storage baskets had gone. Little Brother immediately feared the worst. What if the Saint and his Petes had taken all our Lego?

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