A Christmas To Remember

Isn't it interesting that the place we look last is always where the lost item seems to be??

My daughter Unique has been on assignment with her job almost every year at Thanksgiving. You see, she is a buyer for a major department store chain and they are always on the look out for the next big thing. Nique' is good at what she does as she is the go to buyer when they need to anticipate a trend.

I love to to brag to my girlfriends at work that certain styles they were wearing were the doing of my style genius and important baby girl.

They laugh at me and I have even heard them making wagers amongst themselves on how long it will take me to start talking about my daughter the big NYC buyer.

Can you blame me for being proud of this successful and ambitious woman, who just happens to be my daughter?

You see, Unique is a name that has more sentiments to me and my experience than can ever be imagined. This amazing daughter of mine was born in the spring time 1977 but she became the greatest Christmas gift to me many years later.

As a single mom with a chip on my shoulder, I dispised the site of my child. Hurt by the pain of her father leaving- I could hardly stomach her face. They say when you feed a child they look more like you, but this baby came out the spitting image of her daddy without him providing so much as a birdseed toward her life.

I hated this so much! I secretly held on to the hurt and shame of having a child out of wedlock and my child paid for it!

Hugs?? Never
Kisses?? Maybe a Hershey or 2

I secretly wanted nothing to do with her and my child knew nothing but the fact she was alive.

I was always looking for validation and confirmation of my self worth. If I wasn't out with a man, I was out with friends trying to anesthetize my pain. In December of 1984 it all came to a head. Boy, was I in for a moment that would change the trajectory of mine and my daughter's life forever.

It was the Sunday before Christmas and the winds blowing off of lake Michigan were so chill. As Unique and I headed to service that morning I remember longing for the church lobby--not for Jesus really, but for its wonderfully contrasting warmth. Interestingly, this Sunday Jesus would make a special visit to my heart.

I can tell you that I will never forget the sermon title "A Christmas to remember" when I think of that sermon to this day it gives me chill bumps.

I will never forget how the preacher talked about the valuable gifts the wisemen brought the baby Jesus- expensive items as a tribute to his birth, and the contrast of the expensive item brought by one women in an Alibaster box at the time preceding his death.

Oh, how the specific visuals and analogies of the preacher's words still paint vivid illustrations on the canvass of my imagination, but that day something clicked!!

The next day was the quietest Monday ever. It was if the world was silent and all I did that day was look at my precious gift--my Unique. I just stared at her all day, as if I knew what was going to happen later that day. It was as if I had some type of unspoken premonition, but spending Christmas in a shelter for women and children was far-fetched.

It was as if the soft tone of "thank you mommy" clashed like cymbals.
All of my shame left me at that moment. My feelings of inadequacy seemed to vanish as I looked into the gift that God had given me 7 years prior but I would not open it until this Chirstmas.

As one of the women serving was passing out the styrofoam cups, in a calm but semi-psychotic whisper I asked her "What happened? Why am I here?" Holding up her left index finger she gestured me to wait and continued to pass out the drinks.

As I waited, I again became fixated on my little girl who was sitting at the table just across from where I stood, seemingly without a care in the world. The woman passing out drinks finally came over and told me about the 4 alarm fire that broke out and how my daughter called for help.

Unknown to me at the time my diabetic condition made me blackout or what I thought was just extreme fatigue. That preacher's sermon spoke even louder at that moment as I realized my most priceless gift was both responsible for my death of one way of thinking and my birth into another.

"Thank you mommy" she said again, as I came back to the table. She lifted a small teddy bear from her lap as if to say "thank you for this!!" apparently, the children were given gifts from the shelter and in the 'From' card was written "Mommy".

It was the first gift given to my child from me! I never purchased anything for her for Christmas or any occasion for that matter. At that moment I realized that when I received the gift of Christ in my heart just two days before, the opportunity to experience Him in my life became real.

We never know why things happen the way they do, but that daughter I brag about now, is so special to me and she is the reason I am able to love. The best toy I never gave was a teddy bear that allowed me to hear the words of gratitude that shifted me into true motherhood.

As a nurse practioner, I see so many mothers, who like I was, are stuck in a negative rut. We have children come into the NICU who are the most precious gifts that are unwanted and under valued. With Christ all things are possible and a small gift goes a long way!!

While driving last month I saw a van with the words "thank you mommy" written on the back. Instantly, the Christmas to remember came into my mind like a flood. It was as if God spoke to me and I just needed to see what this apparent sign was all about.

As I quickly jotted down the website the sense of urgency left me. Later that day during my lunch break I went to the website and to my surprise it was a teddy bear company. "Thank you Mommy!" was their slogan. These bears were cute and had a striking resemblance to the one my daughter had many years ago.

As I drove home that evening I thought about how God works in mysterious ways. I called my daughter that evening just as I do each day. As we talked, I was interrupted by my beeper from the hospital. It was a child burn victim and they needed my help in the NICU as I was on call charge that evening.

As I entered the ED, everyone was frantic! Fluids, oxygen and monitors were all being attached to this child. 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 65% of this child's body. Medics called out that is was a house fire and the mother is in critical with severe smoke inhalation and possible hypo-glycemic shock.

What!?

I thought to myself. This is way too many signs happening in one day... After coming out of surgery, this child burned almost from head to toe was the focus of my prayers. All I could think of was Unique, my baby, and how she had saved me in so many ways. It was like a flash of lightening and I knew what I needed to do.

It was as if I was getting a chance to redeem myself. As I typed in the web address and ordered a Cozy Tyme Cuddler bear, I remembered the best Christmas gift ever! I remembered Unique's face. I remember the imagery of Christ and His love. I remembered how the preacher compared the gift of the wise men to the gift of an un-favored woman named Mary.

I just knew what I needed to do. Although it was not Christmas, this Cozy Tyme Cuddlers teddy bear would be my "pay it forward" opportunity. "From Mommy" I wrote with a peaceful awareness that seemed to come from the knowing that God is so real and life had come full circle for me.

I could have never anticipated that this teddy bear would be the last gift this child would receive from her mother. Word came to us in the NICU that the injuries of the child's mother were fatal.

God knows how much we take for granted. Mothers love your children! Do everything within your power to let go of any and everything that could be hindering the abundant flow of love. The words "Thank you Mommy!" has and will always be a positive trigger for me!

Even as Unique has grown into this successful beautiful woman, I strive to be the best mother I can be because life is so short. I did not have to be alive to hear those precious words of a grateful child, and so many do not.

Today, our hospital gets Cozy Tyme Cuddlers for every child that comes thru our doors--not courtesy of the hospital-- from mommy.

I thank God for my Christmas to remember, but most of all I thank Him for teaching me the meaning of a mother's love.
Helen2013 Helen2013
56-60, F
Sep 20, 2012