A child’s first holidays are not meant to be spent in a hospital room.
Unfortunately, this was our reality last year. At four months old our baby girl was still living her NICU life when the holidays rolled around. As Christmas approached I felt overwhelming sadness that she wouldn’t be home with her family where she belonged on Christmas morning. I am an avid Christmas lover. I crave the chaos of it ! The lights, the music (ALL month long + some), the chilly nights spent curled up by the fire, the family traditions, and the gift giving frenzy. But last year as it approached I felt robbed. My daughter’s first Christmas and I wasn’t going to get to show her all of the magic that surrounds the season. And just when I needed it most one of Santa’s elves (in nurse form) gave me some perspective. She told me that ‘God doesn’t choose just anyone to witness a miracle’.
It hit me hard. How selfish I had been in my perspective on the approaching season thinking I wasn’t going to have MY baby home.
But I did have my baby and she was in her home. Her temporary home. That NICU room was her home for the first 6 months of her life and she deserved the best First Christmas that home could accommodate. And she was going to get it !
So it began. Nowhere to hang the stockings with care ? No problem ! Found a fold up cardboard prop chimney on Amazon. No room for a tree ? No problem ! Her primary had a Brookie size fake one from when her kids were young. By the bedside, the lights were all strung (battery operated of course). And on her window sill sat a light up Santa Stop Here sign just incase he got lost looking for her at her temporary home.
Daddy read her The Night Before Christmas by her bed just as I had planned. We tucked her in her new Christmas Eve jammies with all her leads and her feeding tube secured through the side.
That night we stayed in the hotel by the hospital and much to our surprise we received a gift of our own. When we checked in that night we were randomly chosen by Hilton as their guest of the day ! We received a complimentary dinner on the hotel. After settling in we went to the hotel bar and sat to have our first Christmas Eve dinner as a family of three, just the two of us. When we’d finished and went to pay for our drinks we were told the 3 men sitting next to us had overhead us talking about all the plans we had for when Brooklynn came home and they had paid for our drinks. As it turns out they too had young daughters and just wanted to pass on some Christmas cheer to the fellow new parents. Gift after gift from complete strangers.
Yet another lesson in love !
Santa found her that night. Right where she was supposed to be; snuggled safely in her bed. He left her gifts and he filled all the stockings. And that next morning, bright and early, before she woke up, the only gifts she had really wanted showed up. Her mommy and her daddy. Because of the hour drive from our house to the hospital most days we arrived during her morning nap after she’d already eaten. Not today. Not this sunny Christmas morning ( San Diego what can we say 🤷🏼♀️) this first Christmas morning she had everything she needed right there when her eyes opened. That was pure joy. Joy in her eyes, her smile and in my heart.
So my wish for you this holiday season is that you find your joy, wherever you may be.