We have a bit of a Christmas tradition in our family which I refer to as the Christmas Bug. It started 3 years ago for our first Christmas in Canada. At this time I was working as a nanny for two amazing girls and bringing Mya with me. It was our last day with the girls before the holidays so we did typical holiday activities like baking cookies and watching Christmas movies. I sat watching Frosty the Snowman with Mya on my lap when she turned to me, sweetly to give me a hug, then proceeded to throw up all over me. This projectile situation lasted for about 30 minutes, yet felt more like 3 hours. The girls were terrified, Mya was inconsolable, and I was covered in throw up (I apologize squeamish readers). The next few days were filled with moments such as these accompanied by a fever and sleepless nights. I only asked Santa for a reprieve that year as I watched a very sick Mya muster up the strength to open her presents. The following year Mya developed a cold on the last day of school before Christmas vacation. In the car I could almost see the germs float from her onto an unsuspecting Ellie. Two days after Christmas I heard Ellie gasping for air in her crib and we raced her to the ER. We spent 3 days in the hospital with Ellie hooked up to oxygen. While Mya and Travis put away the Christmas decorations, I listened nervously to beeping machines and stared at her oxygen levels like a junkie, waiting for her numbers to rise so we could go home. This year the cold arrived for both girls and I was prepared. Christmas Bug, I can handle you! I took both girls to the doctor last week to make sure everything was okay. On Christmas Eve Ellie awoke with a high fever and although I felt strongly it was an ear infection, visions of years past clouded my thoughts and I raced both girls to our local urgent care clinic. The waiting room was filled with coughing children and I gazed at their parents’ tired faces, so the Christmas Bug is more vast than I knew. We spent nearly 4 hours there, on Christmas Eve, and time like that in a room with no windows allows your fears to get the best of you. I imagined how Christmas morning in a hospital room would feel. Would we tell Mya that Santa was a few days late? Would we simply reschedule Christmas for July to once and for all defeat this tradition? The doctor confirmed my thoughts of an ear infection (both ears were actually infected) and we were sent home with antibiotics. Ellie clung to me for the rest of the day, falling asleep in my arms, and I destined to make the afternoon better than the morning and did everything non-sickness like I could think of. By Christmas morning Ellie was feeling much better and we opened presents and stayed in our pj’s and counted our blessings. So if hardship makes you more appreciative and if health and love are truly the presents we should value most on Christmas morning then maybe this bug isn’t the Grinch I had originally suspected it was. For on Christmas night, when the girls were sleeping peacefully in their beds, and I thought of all the families who actually are spending Christmas in a hospital, I felt that I had been granted the most precious gift in the entire world. So I said a little prayer for those families and felt overwhelmingly grateful, which may just be my new Christmas tradition.
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