When I became a Mom, my whole perspective of Christmas changed. I grew up in the Lutheran Church. Christmas was about the Baby Jesus, Angels, Shepherds, Wise Men, Mary and Joseph. The Nativity Scene was perfectly planted in my brain. It was a day of celebrating the birth of Jesus. Once I became a Mom, things shifted. I started to focus in on how Mary must have felt. Just think about it for a minute….Crazy, right? She, a young woman, had just given birth to God’s own Son. I think about being a new mom, staring at tiny fingers and toes. Those are miracle enough. But to think of her position…it blows my mind every time.
Our world is changing quickly around here. The older two are aware who Santa is. The youngest still believes. It is sad to know this magical part of Christmas is coming to a close. In a way, I’m kind of okay with it. There is still magic. And we can focus on the meaning of Christmas rather than on the traditions that have evolved through the centuries. (Although, I did still beg the older two to help keep the Santa pretense going for their little brother. They’ve been completely on board and it’s beautiful to watch). The Princess and I were talking about it the other night on our way home from the dance studio. She said she was scared Christmas wouldn’t be as fun or exciting since she knew about Santa, but then she was still just as excited – and sleepless – last year, even knowing we were doing the job of Santa. That just made me smile.
And on another note, in two days I will quietly celebrate the 13th (good golly!) anniversary of Big Man’s NICU homecoming. This day means as much to me as his birthday, truly. When you first don’t know if your child is going to even survive, then spend 93 days trekking back and forth to the hospital to sit by his isolette for hours on end, then have the light at the end of the tunnel shut down the night before he was supposed to come home because he needed to go back on oxygen (for five more days), that Homecoming is hugely significant.
I will never, ever forget any part of that day, Christmas Day 2000. I kept waiting for someone to come and say it was a joke, we wouldn’t be taking our baby home. We got to the hospital, I bathed and changed him into his First Christmas outfit. We waited on the doctor for rounds. We filled out pages and pages of paperwork. We were handed our stuffed discharge packet. We took pictures and videos. We thanked as many of our nurses and doctors as were on shift that day. And then we quietly walked out of those NICU doors for the last time, our 3-month old newborn in our arms. I wasn’t in a wheelchair. There weren’t any balloons or flowers. But there was a huge feeling of relief, excitement, and also terror. We struggled, as many new parents do, to get our wiggly wobbly baby into his carseat. And then we drove home to waiting grandparents, aunt, uncle and two cousins.
That first night at home was so quiet. Everyone had left after a couple of hours and lots of pictures. We did normal things with our baby…fed him, changed him, put him in his jammies, read to him, sang to him, and put him down in the bassinet right next to our bed. Then I lay down next to him with my hand on his chest to make sure he was breathing. And I did not sleep a wink. I stared at his perfect fingers and toes. I touched his so-soft hair. I saw his long eyelashes rest on his cheeks. My baby was home! It was Christmas Day, and my beautiful boy was home where he belonged. We were a family, finally under one roof together.
There will be moments on Wednesday it will hit me…all that struggle of those three months, all the beauty and miracle of that day when we finally brought him home…and tears will form. He is simply amazing and has come so incredibly far. There will never, ever be a gift anyone could give me that would match the greatness of his coming home on Christmas Day.