Today marks our 22nd day in the hospital. It’s hard to believe how quickly it has gone by and how painfully slow it has been, all at the same time. Evan is still in acute inpatient treatment, but if all goes well and according to plan, he will begin day treatment tomorrow. That would make tonight his first night at the Ronald McDonald House. It also means he will be able to come home for Christmas and return to day treatment on the 27th. What an amazing Christmas present that would be.
We have continued to be blown away by the kindness of everyone around us, and we are reminded daily of how blessed we are to have such incredible support from the medical team, the Ronald McDonald House, our friends and family. I have received over 100 emails and comments expressing your prayers and support…thank you from the bottom of my heart.
As you begin your family traditions this week and embark upon my favorite holiday of the year (who knew a little Jewish girl from Jersey would love Christmas so much), there are a few things I hope you’ll keep in mind:
1. Your family will drive you crazy, and they are supposed to. If you are lucky enough to be annoyed by your parents, siblings, children, or extended family this holiday season, please be grateful. There are many families who won’t be so fortunate.
2. Invest in a board game. Every night during family time at the hospital, all of the kids and their families play some type of board game, card game, or puzzle. It doesn’t matter if the kids are 7 or 17, but every night, there is time dedicated to doing nothing else than playing together. While our family tries to make this a regular part of our routine at home, we’ve never played as much as we have in the last three weeks. Games provide a great way to really connect with each other. Buy a board game or two this Christmas.
3. Count your blessings. Literally. Last week, Evan had a bad day, and as a result, mine wasn’t all that great. In an effort to pick myself up, I started listing all of the things I am grateful for. I couldn’t believe how long the list got, and I am still adding to it. It is an interesting exercise, and it really helps you put things into perspective.
4. We have little problems. After seeing the kids in Evan’s unit, the families at the Ronald McDonald House, and countless children at the hospital, I have been reminded of how little most of our problems really are. There is a nine-year old girl in Evan’s unit who is so thin from anorexia, her fingers began to turn blue, and she had to be in the ICU for 2 weeks before getting strong enough to begin treatment. There are families at the Ronald McDonald House who have oxygen machines hooked up to their babies as they walk through the hallways. And there are children in the hospital who will be lucky to live past Christmas. Most of our problems just aren’t that important.
5. Commit a random act of kindness. We have seen the most amazing love and compassion in people. It has really had a tremendous impact. It has truly reshaped my view of things. I cannot count the random acts of kindness I’ve witnessed or experienced. I am enjoying giving them back.
From myself, my family, and the SSG team, we wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful new year.