The Gift

It’s that time of year when I get sucked into Lifetime and Hallmark’s holiday movies. I re-watch all my favorites as well as look forward to the new ones. This year is different from previous ones because it is as if I’m watching the movies through a new pair of eyes… the eyes of a mother. Most of the time this fact is a wonderful one and gets me so excited about the holidays and the traditions that my family will have. Unfortunately, the movies that aren’t so fun to watch are the sad stories about losing a loved one or even worse a sick child. I can cry just reading the descriptions of the movies. I never thought about those events before becoming a mother, so watching it unfold on tv it gives you that image that you don’t want to imagine.

There was a movie on today called ‘The Ultimate Gift’. It was about how this man is forced to complete 12 life-changing tasks before he can receive his inheritance from his rich grandfather that recently died. In the middle of him completing these tasks he befriends a young girl with leukemia and her mother who is dealing with all that having a sick child entails. I know that this is a movie and these are characters played by actors but I’m aware that somewhere, there is a family experiencing these struggles for real; and that breaks my heart completely. I can’t imagine the pain involved. I can’t imagine the strength that these children have to face such horrible illnesses. I can’t imagine the strength of the parents to keep a smile on their face for their child and possibly more children at home. I can’t imagine being the medical staff having to share such difficult news. I don’t know if I would be that strong faced with these situations and I hope I never have to find out.

This story line hits close to home but not in the way you would think. I never got to meet my husbands sister who battled her own illness. I don’t know the whole story as this is ( and understandably so) still hard for my husband to talk about. I would never want to cause or remind him of this pain by asking questions. Throughout our relationship I have learned bits and pieces about her; her amazing strength; and the life she had from him, his parents, and other relatives. My husband constantly thinks about our daughter and he will ask me constantly if she is napping or even really quiet if she is okay. I go and check in; to ease his mind. Part of me thinks this is in part of what he went through when he was younger. At first, I didn’t understand why he was so adamant about checking. The first week she was born and after we brought her home he would ask me “is she still breathing” every time she was sleeping. It later dawned on me what could be making him so worried; from then on I don’t make a big deal about it… I just go in and check. It takes a couple seconds to do.

While watching this movie I’m reminded of a gift that we received after my daughter was born. It’ll be a moment I hope I never forget. As I’ve mentioned before my daughter was born on May 27th @ 8:32am. She was the first girl born that day… Actually the first baby that day. A few hours after she was born there was a knock on our door; a nurse entered with a gift bag. At first I thought maybe a family or friend stopped by but that wasn’t the case. The nurse explained that a lady stopped by earlier with this gift for the first girl born on May 27th. She didn’t leave a name. I opened the gift and inside was a beautiful little dress outfit and a card.

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My mom read the card. My mom explained that 17 years ago she delivered twins (boy & girl) on May 27th. Sadly,her daughter didn’t make it and for the past 17 years she always drops off a gift to be given to the first girl born on May 27th. What a moving way to honor her daughter. I was so touched by her story but I was so emotional from everything I wasn’t quite ready to read her words in that card just yet. I finally read the card after I got home from the hospital. It was touching; I cried and hugged my daughter extra tight. I can’t imagine her pain. My daughter has wore this out quite a few times and each time I put it on her I think of that women and her words. I always give my daughter one more extra hug.

I’ll never get rid of that dress. I’ll always hold that moment dear to my heart.

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