I've started to notice that the older Emma gets, the more she is thinking that Christmas is entirely about gifts and Santa Claus. I know that she is not a greedy or ungreatful kid...but I think that she is just bombarded with toys and gifts and toys and gimmie gimmie gimmie everywhere she turns. It's all over TV, it's talked about on the playground at school, it's the #1 question people ask her while out in public...what does she want? What did she ask Santa for this year? So, I decided that this year I wanted to teach her first hand that Christmas is not only about getting things and Santa. I wanted her to experience the true feeling of the Christmas spirit.
I thought of a few good ideas to spread some Christmas cheer, but then I realized that it would probably mean more to her if whatever we did was her idea...so I asked her what she would like to do...and she decided that she wanted to bring a bunch of stuffed animals and toys to the kids at the hospital. She said that she wanted to do something for them to make them smile because she thought that it would probably suck to wake up there on Christmas morning. I would have to agree with her. So, we headed out to the store after lunch and bought up a bunch of toys for the kids and went to the hospital. I had originally thought that we would just drop them off at the help desk in the lobby...mainly because I didn't want to disturb the families in the children's ward...I didn't want to interrupt their time together or make them feel like they had to lay on the praise and gratitude. I wanted Emma to see that the act of giving out of the kindness of your heart really doesn't have anything to do with getting praise for it...it's more about knowing in your own heart that you have done something to make someone else's day a little brighter. Anyway, we got there and the help desk was empty...the lights were off...no one in sight. So, we walked down the hallway to the children's wing and picked up the security phone to talk to the nurse on duty. I explained to her what we were doing there and her voice immediately became excited. She let us in and we were greeted with smiles all around us and Christmas decorations covering every open area. It was beautiful. The head nurse introduced herself and I explained to her that Emma is diabetic and we had spent a couple of days there last year when she was ill. I told her that they were some of the most incredible people I had ever met and I thanked them for being there for us when we needed them. Then Emma said to her that she had a bag full of toys and books for the kids there because she wanted to make them smile and she felt bad that they had to be in the hospital on Christmas of all days. She said that she wanted them to feel better and she wished that they all could be cured.
I looked up at the nurse's face as she talked with Emma and I saw tears in her eyes. I saw her getting it...I saw her seeing what I see when I look in Emma's eyes everyday...I saw her feeling the kindness and the sweet soul...I saw her looking at my daughter with complete and total happiness. It made me tear up actually. She thanked Emma over and over again and had her write down her address even so she could send Emma a thank you card. I told her that it was not necessary at all...we simply wanted to do this for the kids...but she insisted. Emma handed over the bag of goodies and we told the group of nurses around us thank you. I told them that I think they are angels on Earth for doing what they do...taking care of these kids...making their days bearable...working on Christmas and being away from their own families. I told them that I admire them and I think that they are truly special people. Emma told them that she hopes the kids like what she brought and that she heard that Santa stops at all of the hospitals first tonight. She thanked them for being good nurses and we said our goodbyes and left.
As we walked out of the children's wing doors, Emma grabbed my hand and I looked down at her smiling face. I've seen her smile countless times before in her life...but I've never seen a smile quite like the one I saw today. She said to me, "That made me REALLY happy, Mommy! I'm SO glad we did that!" Incredible. My eyes filled up with tears and I told her that I am very proud of her. I am so glad that she truly knows what the spirit of Christmas is about this year. I told her that she is a very special girl to want to make those sick children happy. I told her that she needs to remember how she feels in this moment in time and hold onto it forever. She needs to carry that feeling in her heart and truly believe that she is making a difference in this life...because she is. I told her that yes, it is nice to receive gifts and praise and greatfulness because she truly does deserve it....but she also must remember that feeling she has...that happiness she felt by handing over that bag of toys for those kids...because THAT is really what it is all about.
I am beyond happy that I got to experience this with her today. I am still smiling thinking about it. I am truly greatful for everything I have in my life...a home, food in my cupboards, clothes in my closet, a family that loves me, my health. I think most of all though...I am greatful for the chance to be her Mommy...and for the things she teaches me everyday...the love she shows me...the kindness, the good soul, the incredible spirit. She is my greatest gift and I would be lost without her.
Merry Christmas to you all!