You've been warned! :)
This time last year, I was trying to skillfully put toys out in our tiny little room at RMH without Caleb waking up. This was no easy feat, considering he was in a bed about 4 feet away. Thankfully, he's a pretty sound sleeper! I'm pretty sure I was also teary-eyed because of our situation. RMH does a fantastic job of creating memories for families and the toys that are donated are pretty amazing, but it does not replace the comfort of home. It is not easy being away from home for the holidays, even when your home is only 2 hours away. For us, home is truly where the heart is, and our hearts were firmly planted in Baltimore with our brave little girl in that hospital bed. There was no way we were leaving her.
This year, I went to church with my family, started a new tradition of going out to eat afterwards, came home and let them open up one present, and tucked my sweet kiddos into bed. Then the fun began! :) Tomorrow morning, we will be woken up by one very excited little boy and we'll all head downstairs to open presents and see what Santa left. We'll head to church and then spend the afternoon with my family. It will all be a very welcome change from last year!!
A few days ago, we went back to RMH for a very special toy drop. (There will be a post devoted just to that in the near future--I just have to load the pictures off of my camera!) I met a lovely woman there who was thankful for the toys that were donated, but it was all bittersweet. She was from a different state and her daughter was supposed to be out of the hospital before Christmas. Unfortunately, there were some complications and that wasn't going to happen. This woman was going to be staying with her daughter for Christmas while her other children and husband were back home.
We had a good talk and I listened to her share her story. I told her that I understood how she was feeling and shared a little of our story. We felt even more connected when I realized that she was in the same room that we had called home for three months!! We shared some tears and I gave her a hug, but I couldn't offer any encouraging words of advice or anything...because there aren't any that will help.
Being away from home for the holidays in any capacity (illness, military, work, etc.) is just not fun. It's especially difficult when you have medical worries on top of the sadness you're feeling. It's kinda hard to get into the holiday spirit, ya know?
So this Christmas, please take a moment to remember all of those at hospitals and places like RMH around the world. Those families are trying to make the best of a difficult situation, but it is just not easy. Count your blessings and hug your healthy** kiddos, because you never know when that could be you.
**I'm hugging my two healthy kiddos, because in comparison to last year, Abby is quite healthy!!