Merry Christmas to all.
Laila is not yet awake, and therefore, remains unaware Santa brought her a hydroponic Venus fly trap growing kit.
Eli sounded his baby alarm at 6 a.m. We’re playing in his room. I’m drinking coffee from my 2003 Chicago Chriskindle Market mug.
I’m looking forward to a day with family.
Last year, Eli was still in the neonatal intensive care on Christmas day. It is a happy-sad place fragile, tiny humans go to heal.
I spent a good part of the day there with him a year ago today. We were rather lonesome.
I felt compelled to return yesterday to try and spread a little Christmas cheer. My restaurant moonlighting job and I went halvsies on a few dozen cookies, and I dropped them off at the Ronald McDonald Family Room at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
The Ronald McDonald Room is essentially a cozy living room in the middle of the hospital. Outside, a boy of about 11 stood, engrossed in a “Where’s Waldo” poster on the wall. A family near by held hands in a circle and prayed in low tones, crying together.
I walked by them all and, I’m just going to admit it — I started to cry.
Partly, I think it’s because I understood what they were going through. Going through Eli’s surgeries and diagnosis right after he was born made me more sensitive to the suffering of other families with medical issues.
And I think some of my own feelings came flooding back. Being in a hospital on Christmas Day stunk. My little boy was tangled up with wires, poo poo’ing into a bag on his tummy, and I could only hold him close to his machines. I missed my family. Via the Interwebs, I looked upon the lives of those ‘normal’ people with a good deal of envy, a longing for something. I wanted normalcy. I wanted happiness. I wanted my son home. At the time, it was all out of my reach. Of course I got phone calls, but everyone was busy and distracted with their own lives on Christmas Day.
I only mention all this in the hopes that people remember to reach out today. Christmas is lovely, but it’s hard for those who are going through something different this time of year. It’s a good day to spread happiness — that doesn’t Facebook happiness porn. It’s fine to tell the world how grateful you are. I like looking at cute kid pics and cheerful scenes. There’s a fine line between showing and bragging that’s vastly lost on the posting masses.
Remember to reach out. Social media doesn’t count. Pick up the phone. Drop off some cookies. Even a small gesture will mean a lot. I can vouch for that.