Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Past

It's a gray day outside my window as I sit in the bedroom, laptop open and ready to write. From my view, I can see the neighbor boy and a friend wildly riding bikes in the driveway while I simultaneously hear my older daughters playing the Wii downstairs. Thankfully all this noise hasn't woke our newborn, Katie (6 weeks old today), and she's finally sleeping in her crib. Now that I have some time to relax and observe kids instead of interacting with them, I wonder why my first thought is of our Christmas in 2007.

Our lives today are filled with schoolwork, activities and taking care of an infant. Back 4 years ago, our family had a much greater challenge as Emily was in the midst of treatment for Wilms' Tumors. In mid November, Emy had major surgery in New York City and it wasn't until mid December that we finally had clearance to come back home. Since we were gone so long and had no opportunity to decorate our house for the holidays, Dana and I decided that we would just "get to it when we got to it". After all Emily had been through, we really didn't have the time to even think about Christmas; making it through one day at a time was all we honestly cared about. Cancer was robbing us of having a normal life. It was pure hell.

But as we have come to appreciate, life filled with adversity does come with a beautiful counterpart. Upon arriving home from a world filled with pokes and fear, my family walked through the front door and saw that our Christmas tree was up, decorated, and had presents underneath.

A Christmas miracle! Hope, joy, and love bestowed on a weary family and especially a frail little girl with an emotional disconnect, fighting for her life. There are few sights I will remember more fondly than this. Emily's face: the amazement, happiness, life!!!!! I cry with the image burned into my memory. Her world was back to normal for a moment in time when she needed it most. Emily, our Emily, was back!!!!!

So here I am now, sitting in the bedroom and wiping away the tears of a Christmas memory. Why this is happening to me at this moment I don't understand. Perhaps my life has gotten "too normal" and God is reminding me to count myself as blessed. After all, I do have three healthy and wonderful children and an amazing wife I don't deserve. My world is good; I really do need to see that more clearly.

This day before Christmas Eve, I think a trip to the past was the best gift I could have received. My present is that much sweeter for remembering how far we have come. Hopefully this very special Christmas memory should keep me on the path of giving and appreciation; it's one road that can be bypassed when we sadly let selfishness take control of the wheel. Can't let that happen too often!

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!