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I think we all have elements of our childhood in our holiday celebrations. There are certain foods to be prepared and eaten, certain songs to be sung or listened to, and certain activities to accomplish.

This is one of mine. It was on an old record album with some Christmas songs, and so it got played every December.

To say that I am dealing with a lot of trouble is to put it mildly. My husband is out of work for medical reasons, but we don't have the money to get him treatment, and as long as he is being carried by his former company as being on "extended medical leave" we can't get him Medicaid, or access unemployment benefits.

He is not responding well to not being able to work, and managing his emotions, made more volatile by several head injuries and PTSD and the pain of his conditions, falls on me. This would be a heavy load for anyone, but I also am not well. I have fibromyalgia, and trauma to my foot that has left me with torn ligaments, a collapsed arch and osteoarthritis in the foot, and lumbar scoliosis and pelvic misalignment. Standing and walking for long periods isn't doable for me. The fibromyalgia also amplifies the pain of the foot and back, and I suffer from fibrofog.  I always had ADD, and the fog doesn't help my ability to focus and pay attention.

Our income stream consists of me donating plasma. (He can't, his blood pressure is too high.) That is fifty dollars a week. And we have food stamps. Periodically I edit a book and get a check, or Bear takes his mother on errands and she fills the gas tank.

But surprisingly, I am usually pretty happy. I really do count my blessings a lot. The greatest is that everything that is a problem in my life can be fixed with the application of money to it in greater or lesser amounts. My sons are healthy and happy, even if they don't live with me, and my husband, despite all his issues, is still my best friend and still always makes me laugh. I have friends in real life who do care about me and would "move bodies" for me, even if I have very few ties to my family of origin. And clearly, I have friends online, because today I received a lifetime subscription.

When I first found Daily Kos, I was awed and intimidated by the level of intellect that was posting on a regular basis. I still find the level of analysis that goes on here to be breathtaking, and the regular commentary give and take to be stimulating. There is no room for laziness here. And perfectionist that I am, I like this. But there is support. Gods, is there support! This is truly a community, and one that by and large has its focus on the right priorities in life, even when the actual political ones are murky and unclear. We take care of our own, and try to make the world a better place, and that fits in well with my own calling religiously and personally.

What with the brain fog, I lurk a lot. I tend not to like to post a lot of "What she said" or "I agree with him" comments. I have a brain, and when it is unfogged, I like to use it. So I'm not going to be (without getting on medication regularly) a regular diarist on a series, or able to volunteer much. But this proves that what I do is noticed, and appreciated, and that in and of itself is a really wonderful gift.

So thank you, anonymous, whoever you are. And thank you, community. Tomorrow I turn forty, and this is the best birthday present I've received yet.

Originally posted to Alexandra Lynch on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 03:26 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets , Personal Storytellers, and Community Spotlight.

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