Merry Christmas from the Holder's!
Well, those cards are still paid for and I am still going to make them. People will have to understand and over look the fact that they don't arrive until well after New Years. What the heck, we may start a new tradition and send out Valentine Cards instead of Christmas ones. (At the rate we're going it'll be Valentine's before we get home.)
My neighbors are going to think we are crazy, but we are putting up our tree when we get home. I am determined that my boys will have Christmas in our house in some shape, form, or fashion. We've been in the hospital since December 3rd, so I did not have the chance to even attempt to pull out our Christmas decorations. Thanks to our niece and some very special friends, both of our boys had Christmas trees, one at the hospital and one at the apartment.
I must be honest and say that this has been much harder than I thought it would be. Not having my boys in the same place has been tough. It was hard to leave Brinkley at the hospital alone last night. It wasn't what I planned for my baby's first Christmas, but his sweet nurses helped Santa find his bed. (They even put his Santa suit on him before we got here!) He woke up to his gifts from Santa and later Reese helped him open his presents from us.
Yesterday I went in the grocery store to get a few things and as I was leaving I saw a middle aged lady and a gentleman (maybe 30ish) with Downs walking through the parking lot. Earlier in the day I had noticed a teenage boy with Downs a few rooms up from Brinkley. After seeing these two men, I couldn't help but think of my Brinkley as he grows up.
Our lives will never be the same. Every child changes your life and family, but it seems that a special needs child takes that to a whole new level. Those gentlemen were reminders to me of the joy and heartache that our future most likely holds. In my mind they represented the fact that we are going to have ups and downs. Like the young man here in the hospital, we will probably have our share of days with doctors, hospitals, and therapists. Like the gentleman at the grocery store, we will likely have many more times where life seems normal and we are doing normal family things. The toughest part was accepting that this is our new normal.
Though that is a tough reality for me to accept, I also have to say how blessed I am. Our sweet baby has turned on the charm since we have been here and he has started smiling a lot! He has even attempted to giggle a few times. People have been so good to us here. The sweet ladies from Cross Bridge have been checking on us and visiting with us at the hospital. They even brought us a traditional Christmas dinner last night. It made us feel a little more at home as we sat down to enjoy it at lunch time today. As I was sitting here writing this, a gentleman came in to tell me that a group had brought dinner to the waiting room down the hall. I just went in there to find more traditional Christmas food including sweet potatoes like my aunt makes me. I felt so stupid, but I broke down in tears as the lady put it on my plate. I thanked her and she said she understood, she was here with her child two years ago on Christmas.
I think the Lord just used those sweet potatoes to confirm something in my heart. The last few days I have been feeling like there is something that the Lord would have us do for others facing this same situation. Our family often talks about doing something for Christmas rather than putting so much focus on our gifts. A simple as it is, those sweet potatoes may have just clearly shown me what we are going to do next year. Who better to serve these families than someone who has walked this road also. I'm pretty certain that you will find the Holder's serving Christmas dinner at our Children's Hospital next year.