It was a Christmas my family will never forget… although most of us would prefer to forget it. The setting was so perfect… a rustic old ski chalet in the mountains, nestled amongst towering firs and deep snow. A winter wonderland. A most magical Christmas setting. We all arrived in the evening, and came together with such love.. hugs and laughter and togetherness. On the first day, many took a trip up the ski hill to ride the slopes while I stayed back and worked on a project. I knitted a tiny scarf, and made a little toque and set out with my cousin Halley to make a mini snowman. I took pictures of the sugar frosted beauty around me, as well as a few pics of my sweet little snow-nymph nieces. All was well.. until later that evening. One by one, seemingly by the hour, my family members started falling ill with a violent and aggressive flu… within 24 hours, almost everyone was down. All night, the house was like an angry bee hive… it felt surreal as I listened with angst behind my closed door. Those who didn’t get it that first night, were hit the following day with a lesser form of the bug. I was one of those lucky few who had only mild symptoms. But I have to say, even though it was hard to watch my loved ones in such a vulnerable state, there was beauty in the madness. One incredible person, (we all know who you are, Z) who had already dealt with this bug, stayed up all night and took such loving care of everyone.. moving from room to room giving fluids and medicine and comfort to anyone who needed it. He didn’t sleep a wink that night, and went so far as to help get my frail grandmother out of that house in the wee hours of the morning to protect her from the storm. In the end, 26 out of 29 people experienced some form of this flu. Thank goodness, it was a 24 hour bug, and by Christmas night, most were up and back to their cheery selves. It was beautiful to see everyone come together again, hugging each other, checking in to make sure everyone was ok, sharing stories of their ordeal. We weren’t going to let a bug take away everything… we closed the night with a fun round of secret santa, and let off fireworks in the cold clear night sky. We left the next day a little battle-weary, but with a deeper awareness of how much love and caring there is amongst us. So perhaps we might like to forget some of the ugly parts… but I think we will still hold close the beauty of being together.