All I want for Christmas
|By: Deb Waltman|
|For the past nine years my husband Harry and I have
celebrated Christmas together with our own special traditions. We would get a tree, of
course, and usually it was much too large for our tiny one bedroom apartment in New York
City. We chose a night to decorate it and, with lots of champagne and rock and roll or
novelty Christmas tunes on the stereo, we made the tree ours, and kicked off the holiday
season. Each year, at the end of the holidays when that tree was nearly half its former
size (the other half in needles on the floor which turned up, throughout the remainder of
the year, in the strangest places), I had my own, personal tradition.
I would stand by the trees glowing lights, with all the special ornaments we had picked up through the years, and say a silent prayer to God or whoever might be listening- please let next Christmas find us exactly the same as this year. It wasnt practical, I know. The only thing we can count on is change. Still, each year, things managed to stay basically the same. Our relationship was wonderful, our families were happy and healthy, it was time before we knew it to trim the tree again. Where did the year go?
Two years ago, at the end of Christmas, I changed my prayer. Please, God, at this time next year let us have a baby. We had finally decided there was room in our perfect circle for a perfect little child. Three months later I was pregnant with our son, and it seemed my prayers, once again, had been answered. Harrison would be due in December, even, on the 6th. Plenty of time to get ready for the holidays
Harrison had other plans. He arrived in summer, not winter. He weighed less than 2 pounds. Our lives were changing in other ways too. My husband changed jobs and was unhappy in the new one. We moved from the city out to the suburbs. Much later in the year I lost my beloved grandmother who was a second mother to me. Change did not merely take place, it took over.
We survived the year because Harrison did, although he gave us many opportunities to wonder if that would be the case. He spent Halloween in the Nicu- appropriate enough because the experience was a nightmare. One of the nurses put decorations on his little wool cap (pumpkins, moons, etc) to celebrate the holiday. All I wanted was to have my boy home for Christmas.
We were extremely lucky, in that Harrison came home just before Thanksgiving, and stayed healthy throughout the coming holidays. Of course isolation may have had something to do with his health, but it was a small price to pay for his presence in our lives. It was a very different Christmas for us last year.
Today its Sunday, Dec.6th. and would have been Harrisons first birthday. I am anxious to get a tree as soon as possible. It will be nice to decorate this year with a little less fear in my heart. My boy is big now and healthy. Of course he has a multitude of preemie-related issues. My prayer this Christmas is going to be Please let my baby be able to sit up by himself soon. Let him be able to walk at this time next year. I am confident these things will come in time.
I think back at the innocence of the girl wishing for things to only stay the same every year. I think of the parents with babies in the NICU and all the uncertainty and trauma in their lives magnified by the season. I pray, this year, that we all can be strong for these children, these precious gifts.
Whatever it is that we celebrate, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just the turn of the seasons, let us do it with patience for each other and for our children. Most of all, let us celebrate with love.
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