As a child, Christmas was my favorite time of year. I loved the excitement, the music, the lights, the movies and the time with family. It felt like magic came to life. Now that I’m an adult and especially since I’ve developed this chronic illness, Christmas has taken on a life of its own at our house. Our tree is huge, the lights are ablaze and the music is always blasting. I’m proud to say that both of my kids have made “Elf” references this Christmas season and both of them can sing carols so loudly that my ears bleed. 😉 I want my children to experience the magic that I loved so much, and they do! I want them to feel the warmth of the holidays, and I want them to think of others in need.
One of our traditions with Colby (our 7-year-old) is taking a trip to Boston Children’s Hospital to deliver toys to children who will be spending Christmas in the hospital. This is always such a humbling and amazing experience. Colby has been dedicated to this cause for three years, and his commitment amazes me. Colby lost one of his best friends, Olive, while she underwent a heart surgery at Boston Children’s. Every year he saves his money, purchases and collects donated toys for “Christmas for Olive.” Each trip has been an adventure, and he takes something different away from the experience each time. This year, I think because he’s matured so much, he really seems to have taken it all in. When we came home all he wanted to do was cuddle. When I was tucking him in a few nights later he said, “mama, I think Olive is so happy that we go to Boston…and I think those kids need lot’s of presents, more than Sophie and I do.” My heart melted…and then he said, “I know your heart feels sick sometimes and it’s good that you go to Boston to feel better…they are cool!” I was blown away with his maturity, and I was so proud to have the honor of being his mom. My illness used to scare him, and now I think it has helped mold him into the young man he’s becoming.
The next day I was exhausted…fatigue had set in, I was livin’ the POTS life…aka laying in bed! I could hear my kids whispering in the hallway…Colby was leading the charge on something. The next thing I knew they came in with their blankets and curled up beside me. “Let’s watch a Christmas movie mama, we’ll lay with you when you’re sick,” Sophie said. I laid there with a kid on each side of me feeling so blessed and happy. My children are kind, (They are also wild, sassy, bossy, funny, and typical siblings…) but in their hearts they are kind. In a weird way, I have my POTS diagnosis to thank for this. Because of this illness, it forced us to slow down, and to refocus on what’s important…and this is it.