This Christmas, we awoke in our own home, to the sound of our sweet angel on Earth exclaiming, “Santa came, Mommy” and walked out of our bedroom to his bouncing and clapping with an innocent energy I’ve only dreamed existed.
Christmas last year he had joined our family only days before and was still so timid, and so young, and so frightened. And so were we.
This new little addition to our fractured world, our beautiful Christmas blessing, was still so fresh and so new. We were all still navigating our new normal with one another and just announcing to the world that we were officially a family.
The Christmas before, that may have been the hardest. Our childless Christmas. To be honest, I don’t even remember what we did. I only remember our sweet angel wasn’t there. I know we hung his stocking and we sent Christmas cards with his picture. We debated over those cards. My husband said don’t do it, it’s too sad, it will be too hard for everyone to see his sweet face. I said it’s the last time I can put his photo on a Christmas card. It’s the last year he was part of this world. I can’t not include him. And so we did. And still I’m glad we did.
The last two years I’ve thought about including him. Every family photo still feels like something is missing. Something will always be missing.
And the Christmas before that, it wasn’t much easier. The hospital was amazing. The nurses in HemOnc, those saints that they were, fought over the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day shifts. Not to have them off, but to be there. To be there for their kids, for their families, who were fighting for their lives during the time of year when the rest of the world was celebrating.
The volunteers brought gifts, wonderful gifts, and the doctors, though our poor sick baby was struggling, fought so hard to keep him from going to PICU where we couldn’t snuggle and cuddle and have visitors, so we could have some kind of normalcy on one day of the scariest year of our lives.
So this is Christmas. A day where our little man wakes up to gifts and cookies and the magic of Santa. And Mommy wakes to the memory of her angel in Heaven while somehow creating unforgettable memories for her angel on Earth.
So this is Christmas. Bitter and sweet. Breathless and breathtaking. Joyful and painful.
No different than any other day.