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So this Is Christmas

I found myself dazing out my living room window this afternoon in almost a state of shock. The tree which had bore an autumn ensemble of burnt orange leaves was now empty. I hadn't seen the leaves flutter to the ground, nor had I noted any blankets of leaves laid across the grass. I sat up from my slumped position, and searched the apartment courtyard, then gazed onward to the sidewalk. Nothing, completely bare. Autumn had passed, and I hadn't noticed. 

My thoughts quickly derailed back to the object of my time consummation, my daughter, Molly. With a sigh, I scanned the toy scattered carpet for my black bag which has become a harbor for items which have
become part of my daily routine during my evenings at the hospital. My stomach unsettled, my body fought the inevitable duty to drive the familiar 1 hour drive to the hospital where I would sleep again, on a bench. 

The Television buzzed in her bedroom, while people sang of Yuletide spirit, and shopping trips. Children laughed and beamed huge smiles as merchants plugged their websites through commercials. So, this is Christmas, the 
statement rang through my ears, and drilled into my heart. I glanced over to Molly, as her machines beeped, and chug chugged along, my stomach knotted again. 

The nurse came in, smiled in a way to ease the unsettled look that must have been cascading off my face and down through the hall. "She is having a GOOD day!", the nurse said. "Wonderful, just wonderful," was
all I could mutter out of my mouth as the jingle jangle commercial came to an end from behind me. 

I went through the usual checklist, which I had been performing upon entering Molly's room for 3 weeks. Heart rate, OK. Blood Oxygen Level, OK. Respirator number, still the same, the edges of my mouth turned down a tad. Well, everything looked "good" they said. So, here she was, still sedated, still on paralysis medication, but it was a "GOOD" day they said. 

I remember "Good" days with Molly. We would wake up early, she and I would find our way to the couch while her twin sister and big brother slept. I would curl my body into hers, smoothing out her almond, raspberry hair, and freeze the moment in my heart forever. Those were good days.

So, this is Christmas, and I fight Yuletide spirit secretly, trying to talk of Santa and Christmas trees with a child's anticipation to keep my 3 year old son tracking the day with a flutter in his heart. I make a point to play Christmas lullabies on the hospital CD player when I visit Molly, and my heart moves through each note with great pains. Her Christmas dress, hung on the hanger awaits to meet her soft skin, and
warm smile. Our family holiday photo is one short, and explanations in Christmas cards seem inappropriate. 

I count the days, slowly to Christmas, reminding myself there is time. There is time enough for her heart to do what it needs to do, and her lungs to take huge breaths of air on their own. There will be time to wean her off the narcotics, and time to focus on the not so less important things, such as filling Santa's plate with cookies on Christmas Eve. 

So, this is Christmas.
Copyrighted 12/5/99

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