Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 7:14 am

We’ve all heard the saying, “Christmas is for kids” a thousand times and I guess I always assumed it referred to fortunate kids who get to anticipate a Christmas morning full of packages under the tree, a new outfit and days of school activities, concerts, plays and all things innocent and wonderful. I also assumed it referred to Christmas as being for kids because their parents were basically all stressed out trying to hunt down must-have toys and pay for those must-have toys, send the cards, do the cleaning and shopping and cooking and planning, knowing those credit card bills will arrive complete with a fire extinguisher come January.

And then I saw a turtle. Not just any turtle. I saw a turtle who had been so disabled that he could no longer move his little turtle leg. And someone, God bless ‘em, made him a turtle crutch wagon out of Legos and the turtle took to it and today is motoring on, rocking it, heading home to his turtle family on his Legos wagon.

Christmas is for kids, yes. But Christmas is for kids because kids grow up to become adults who might just use that aged-old love of Legos to make a turtle walk again.

We all spend our lives seeking those Christmas ideals we forged as kids. Through the rekindling of faith, the excitement of gifts, the smells of favorite foods, the putting up of trees and ornaments and grandmother’s passed-down decorations, we return again and again to try and replicate that which made us believe in…miracles.

We are all yesterday’s kids inside. We are all those kids trying to replicate the best of what we took from our childhoods. How fortunate are we that the gifts we were given, those of tradition and giving and faith, now are ours to hand down again and again.

Sure, yesterday’s kids have made today’s murderers, today’s war mongers, today’s thieves, today’s rapists….But yesterday’s kids have also made the most extraordinary, talented, funny, generous, do-gooding people this world needs and craves. People I know.


Thank you for taking the best of your childhood memories and keeping them, reshaping them and sharing them all around. It never mattered much if we were off key, if the cookies burned a little bit on the bottom, if the packages looked as if they had been wrapped by a turtle…

I’ve heard you sing and you’ve filled my heart with all of your voices, the things you do, the ways you impact and imprint our young people, your gifts of kindness and food and generosity and spirit and companionship. Your sweet, sweet love.
You are yesterday’s kids and, too, tomorrow’s hope…That light is right and that good really does beat back evil. In a world that sometimes begs to differ, you are an army of fabulous. A tremendous and treasured reminder that every morning is, indeed, a gift.

My Christmas wish is that you simply hear my warm prayers that you and yours will enjoy a peaceful holiday season and go skipping into a New Year with renewed good health, enthusiasm and with hearts all full of love.

Merry Christmas with love,
From Kara
And turtles


  1. Awesome post, Kara. Good Work.

    Comment by CDJ — December 24, 2014 @ 7:29 am | Reply

    • Thanks, CDJ. Appreciated 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — December 26, 2014 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  2. My Friend. You bring joy and thoughtfulness to my heart.
    What a blessing you have been to me.
    From my tree to yours,
    Blessed Christmas!

    Comment by Barb George — December 24, 2014 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

    • “From my tree to yours…..” Hey Barb, love that :))))) I’m going to start quoting you!!!!!

      Comment by karaswanson — December 26, 2014 @ 9:35 am | Reply

  3. Only you can say it BEST!!! Merry Christmas My Friend and a Blessed New a Year!

    Comment by Laura Galvin — December 24, 2014 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, Laura. Best to you and the family. And Happy Birthday as well!!!! 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — December 26, 2014 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  4. Thank you, Kara, for your lovely words this day. Having let myself slip, just a little bit, into a sadness and longing for the Christmas my family and I used to know, your gentle reminder that the relationships and traditions we used to embrace are really still ours to rekindle and share and pass down. How easy it is to forget that. Your holiday reflection today is just what it took to get me out of my melancholy and into remembering that loving and giving and kindness are necessary still. Thanks for reminding me. Stay warm and cozy this Christmas Eve. Know that you are loved and prayed for today and always.
    Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year,

    Comment by Jean — December 24, 2014 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

    • Well, be kind to yourself, Jean. Everyone slips here and there. We are all human and all of us have significant obstacles to battle down every day. Hats off to you for wanting to rise up again and battle. Makes you a warrior on the good side. :)) Hooray!!!!

      Comment by karaswanson — December 26, 2014 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  5. And dito to you Kara. Live, Love, Laugh.

    Comment by Kym Taylor — December 25, 2014 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, Kym :)) Very nice!!!

      Comment by karaswanson — December 26, 2014 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  6. Merry Christmas to you, too, Kara…. and I love the idea of skipping into the new year! Yes, Christmas still brings out child-like wonder in me, lifts up my spirits, and inspires me to pass on that sense of fun, hope, joy, awe, and a giving spirit tothers – to everyone really, but especially wiith my own children. I love how his season brings out the best in so many people, and how it can somehow unite us all in simple and sometimes deep ways. That reaffirms my belief in the basic goodness of all people and gives me hope that we can all learn to work together to create a move loving and just world. Even the most hardened, discouraged hearts can be touched by kindness. Simple acts of compassion and friendship can help to soften hearts and shift thinking. It can make the impossible seem possible. I think that we all need that…. that we need and benefit from caring acts and relationships with each other. It feels so perfect that Christmas comes when it does, too… so good to have this season of hope and giving as we reflect on the year that’s ending and what we want for the year ahead! 🙂

    Thanks for your sharing so much of yourself in your blog, Kara – and for letting us share with you, too. Many blessings to you today and in the year ahead! 😀

    Comment by Kathie M. — December 26, 2014 @ 1:51 am | Reply

    • Kathie, thank you for your thoughtful words. I enjoyed them, and you 🙂

      Comment by karaswanson — December 26, 2014 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  7. Hi Kara, I have a TBI myself, and this Christmas I was lucky to spend with my love’s family, as well as my own. I hope yours has been lovely! Mine was an auto accident as well, and I quote you often in emails… “…the accident that ended my life…” Thank you for your beautiful words.

    Comment by Murray Dunlap — December 28, 2014 @ 5:42 pm | Reply

    • You just made my day, Murray Dunlap. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such kind words. I’m sorry you got hurt too. You know I wish you and yours the very best in a lifelong recovery starting with the best of New Years :))) Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — December 30, 2014 @ 1:44 am | Reply

  8. Kara- My partner of 17 years sustained her TBI when she was 16 and is now 52. I’m becoming more aware of cognitive, behavior and personality changes in her as her over the top teaching job fatigues her brain. She is now using medical marijuana7 days /week to stay mentally alert enough to function and 2-3 glasses of wine/night to take the edge off the Aderall (?) and weed buzz .The nightly, weekly, even hourly roller coaster of wretchedly poor communication, hypersensitivity, rage outbursts, crying, self rightousness and narcissism is exhausting to me and to the new friends I am trying to develop and sustain since the kids left home. I’ve spent some time on Brainline’s site but am really hoping for a blog for caregiver coping strategies. I’m wishing for a shortlist to subtly pass on to friends and as a reminder to me on how to be with this person she’s devolving into. It’s such a mind warp to try to find my partner in all this. I’m kind of heartbroken over who we’ve become and who I’ve become to stay with her. My town is too small to have a TBI support group and too small for this info to be out; we still need her income from teaching. Thanks for any info you can provide.

    Comment by Patricia — March 17, 2015 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

    • Hey Patricia! I’m going to write to your personal email. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — March 18, 2015 @ 11:23 pm | Reply

  9. I was a pediatric rehab NP in Delaware and now VP of the Brain Injury association of Delaware as well as facilitator of a Brain Injury Support group. I have read (and bought) your book “I’ll Carry the Fork” many times. I have lent it to so many people and have frequently mentioned things you wrote about in presentations. As I was first working in the field of brain injury it gave me so much insight and a better understanding of a person with a brain injury. I want to thank you for helping me to become the brain injury nurse that I am today.

    Comment by Sharon Lyons — March 23, 2015 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

    • I am so touched by your kind words. Thank you thank you. You have started my morning with a glow in my heart. Wishing you every good. Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — March 24, 2015 @ 6:37 am | Reply

  10. I loved this post! I’ve been reading your blog occasionally for the past couple of months, and I have to say, you’re a talented writer. I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as this blog post! 🙂

    Comment by Ian — April 27, 2015 @ 11:04 am | Reply

    • Well, hi, Ian!!! Thank you so much for the kindly words. What a nice way to start my morning. I really appreciate it. 🙂 Kara

      Comment by karaswanson — April 28, 2015 @ 8:00 am | Reply

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