home (this year) for Christmas

Today my Timehop app reminds me that over the last eight years I was scheduled to work six of the last eight Christmas Eves and (or) Christmas Days. I’m not surprised. I am a nurse who works in a very busy Level III NICU in a very busy hospital. I have worked as a nurse in very busy Level III NICUs in very busy hospitals since 1990…since 1988 if you consider my days as a nurse’s aid and surgical tech. Since Hollie was very young, if it is Christmas Eve and (or) Christmas Day, I was almost always working and sleeping because I needed to work through the long night. It was strange. It was often hard. Extended family almost always never understood. But it was what I signed on for when I chose to be a nurse…and I was not alone…no, not ever.

We all have given up more than our fair share of Christmases with our families and the ones we love the most.

But this year, this Christmas Eve, this Christmas Day, I am home. I am home all day and all night and all day and all night for Christmas with my family circus. I am not exhausted from a long overnight shift just hours before trying to stay awake and not be so grumpy while enjoying a few, short hours of face time with my children and husband before I take a nap before work again. I am not trying to rest a little before work in a much too quiet, empty house because my circus is with extended family celebrating while I get ready for work. I am home.

As a nurse, to be home tonight and tomorrow is most always the exception rather than the expectation. I know that. Every bedside nurse knows that. My husband and my children know that. Every bedside nurse’s family knows that. It’s what we signed on for when we chose to become a nurse. It’s hard. We sacrifice much. Our families sacrifice much. It’s hard. It’s hard for us and for the ones we love the most. But, unlike those whom we care for, at the end of our long, twelve hour shift, we get to leave. We get to leave and go home when our shift is over.  That is one absolute truth nurses know Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And at the end of those shifts we go home and hug our family tightly…no matter how tired we are or how much we need to sleep a little before the next busy shift.

This year, as I sit in front of the perfect Big Top family tree with far too many gifts because it is a big family circus (a very big family circus) I am reflecting on the truth that I am home and I am thankful, so very thankful for so many reasons. Next year I am certain that I shall be working. Either way I am thankful and I am blessed.

Merry Christmas all…and extra special Christmas wishes to all those caring for the sickest and most critical of patients and their families right now.


holiday mad adorableness

So that impossibly gorgeous married couple I know so well because the wife is my darling daughter #1 shared a picture of themselves from a holiday party this weekend.

Naturally I grabbed a copy of it for myself; after I shouted, “Stop being so adorable!” Because, really, they are just too damn adorable. I wish I was that adorable! This shot really would be a perfect holiday card except for the fact that their even more perfectly adorable children aren’t in the picture.

Of course, that will not do because they are my perfectly adorable grand babies and they absolutely must be featured in their holiday cards.

Hollie and Ben, naturally, agree and they asked me to help them get the perfect holiday card photo.

You can’t imagine the fun.

Then again…

Meanwhile, the much-coveted Scarborough Family Circus Holiday cards are here and ready to send out.

Let me know if you want one.

a bad influence

First I let him read an excerpt of Furiously Happy.

Then this.

Because it was so much more fun being a part of this card game than playing video games or watching the Disney Channel in a hotel room with your family.

Perhaps we are horrible people but the laughter we shared together throughout the evening made it all so right.

Too right.