I have a lot to be thankful for. I am married to my best friend. Someone I can laugh and cry with. Someone who challenges me and always has my back. We have been blessed with two wonderful children. I am fully aware of the fact that having children, healthy children, is not a given. I am thankful every day, even the difficult days, that they are in my life. Throughout my life friends and have come and gone and I am fortunate to have had them all in my life. My friends have supported me through some seriously difficult times in my life and I am truly grateful for the role they have in my journey.
Six years ago, Mr. C. and I celebrated our first Thanksgiving as parents in the hospital. By this point the hospital felt like our home. Mr. T was over a month old and still hadn’t been beyond hospital walls. Though he wasn’t ready to come home, he was strong enough and healthy enough to be moved, not only out of the NICU, but to a local hospital. Close enough that Mr. C and I took turns running home to take a shower, pick up clean clothes and bring some of our creature comforts to keep us company in our private room.
I have to admit, in the days leading up to the holiday I began to get more and more depressed. I had naively convinced myself that we would be home within days so to be spending our very first holiday as parents in the hospital felt like something I couldn’t face.
I woke that morning with an immense sadness weighing down my chest. My heart hurt. I felt hopeless. I wondered if we were ever going to get to bring our little man home. I was angry that we weren’t at home building our traditions. I felt angry thinking of all of the families sitting around the table, toasting with their glasses of wine and plates full of turkey. I was feeling a lot of mixed up emotions and none of them were thankful.
Then, in walked my parents, who were always there to support us during this difficult time in our lives. They brought with them turkey, stuffing, cranberries, everything to make us a Thanksgiving dinner. Mr. T’s nurses felt like he was strong enough to leave his room and join us in the hospital cafeteria. We packed him up in the infant carrier that sat in our car, unused, and off we went.
We gave thanks in a hospital cafeteria, with a tv in the corner playing “So you think you can dance Canada”. We smiled. We laughed. Mr. T slept while we ate, and he was with us and we couldn’t be happier. We felt like a family.
Sometimes you need to be reminded of what you are thankful for and sometimes those things don’t come wrapped in pretty little packages. Life can kick you in the ass and it’s in those moments when you might need some help to remember your true blessings. My reminder that year came from some of the people in my life who will stand by us, even in our darkest moments.
Hopefully that was the last holiday we will ever spend in a hospital cafeteria. Mr. T was able to come home not long after that and we have spent every Thanksgiving since taking a moment to be grateful for the second chance we were given.