I've been having a difficult time getting into a cheerful holiday mood. Last week my in-laws got together to see the Christmas Village in Ogden. Harper was a bit grumpy at first, but once he warmed up to it, he basked in the magic of childhood Christmas. I tried really hard to live in the moment, but couldn't help think of how much Norah would have loved the lights. I ached to tote her around, cuddled together, trying to fend off the cold winter air. I cried while we were there.
This week, Jeff and I wanted to show a little gratitude to the staff at PCMC, so we decided to bake a big pile of goodies for the staff at the PICU. They take incredible care of Norah, work long hours, and make a big difference in our quality of life. Yesterday, I was sitting in Emily's kitchen with Shelly and Emily. We were wrapping up the last of the treats when I began to feel a little Christmas cheer. I didn't know it yet, but that was the start if a big turnaround for me.
When we got to the hospital, Norah's aunties took turns cuddling with her. They were all overjoyed to see her smiles, and Miss Norah, our little social butterfly, was overjoyed to see them. Kelli, Shelly, Emily (and her hubby Ryan) were witness to the fact that no one can enter Norah-land without being deeply affected. Despite being tethered to life supporting machines, she giggles, smiles and talks (in her trach-suppressed way).
It only took telling a few people to start spreading the word that there were yummy cookies in Norah's room. It felt good to thank the staff as they came in. We talked to doctors, nurses, techs, RTs, and even housekeeping. It is truly better to give than receive; I could feel a little more Christmas cheer.
There was a thick envelope sitting at the foot of Norah's bed addressed to Jeff and I. It said "open together". When Jeff arrived, that's exactly what we did. Inside was the sweetest card about love at Christmastime written from the perspective of a child to their parents. Inside the card was a typed note "from" Norah to us. Inside the note was a significant cash gift. I started to sob. There wasn't a trace of a name anywhere on the card or note. Everything was typed so there was no handwriting to decipher. We asked nurses, techs, and even tried to get the front desk receptionist to spill the beans regarding the person who dropped it off. We spent a long time speculating and attempting to deduce who our Secret Santa could be.
We have now given in to the fact that this person (or people) want to stay anonymous, so we want to give them that. I love that someone (or some people) are walking around knowing that he/she/they made all the difference to a family in need, and that he/she/they feel great without needing recognition. With the hope that our Secret Santa is a blog reader, I'll finish this lengthy post with a message to him/her/them:
You've given us more than cash at a time when we need it most. You've given us more than a gift at Christmas when our family is in a difficult situation. You've seen the love and hope that our family has, and grown it exponentially with your anonymity and thoughtfulness. We're so grateful that we have so much love and warmth in our lives, and we are grateful for you. Thank you for your good deed, your selflessness, and for filling me with holiday cheer in a way that I've never known before.
Shauna (and Jeff, Harper, & Norah)
Shauna (and Jeff, Harper, & Norah)
Fun smiles earlier this week
Big cuddles with Auntie Kelli!
Norah sure loves her Auntie Shelly
She had lots of smiles for Auntie Emily!