As a little girl I always got a baby doll for Christmas.
|I hear a rattle inside this thing - that must be the big old diamond necklace I ASKED for. Great way to hide it, Santa!|
Even when I asked for a troll or a stuffed poodle or an etch-a-sketch. I got those too, yes I was your typical spoiled youngest child growing up in the middle of the middle class. But always a baby doll too. As an adult I suspect this was more for my mom than for me.
|Mommy, why are we bowing to the dolly? It's not like it can come to life and bite us or... wait, you didn't buy it from that creepy store in the Twilight Zone part of town did you?|
My mom was one of those born to be a mom women who felt there was no higher calling than motherhood (and she was good at it, my greatest blessing in life was having her for a mom and that blessing lives on now that she's gone in my heart and home and through my own kids).
|My Mom with my sister many, many, many Christmases ago (to balance out the baby of the family spoiled thing - there aren't usually a lot of photos of the youngest and I was no exception)|
|No, it's NOT Santa and that little round belly was not a bowl full of jelly!|
We couldn't hold her. Her eyes were covered so she couldn't look at us much of the time. We couldn't do much more but stand by the unit and stroke her arm or leg. Days went by without much improvement. They began to have a hard time drawing blood. She couldn't seem to get her breathing right. The docs were running out of ideas.
I believe that's why God gave us have nurses. Natalie was almost a week old that night, well after midnight, when I wandered down to the nursery to just be by her.
An experienced nurse saw me, glanced around, then motioned me to sit in the nearby rocker. "We've all been talking about your daughter," she said. "And we all believe in the power of hearing her mother's heartbeat and feeling the rhythm of your breathing. Every baby needs that."
And the next thing I knew she had lifted Natalie from the unit, with the oxygen tube at hand and the monitors still attached, and placed her in my arms. She told me she'd be at the station a few feet away to make some notes and left us alone.
I can still feel the weight of my daughter in my arms. The way she turned her head toward me, even with her eyes closed, in response to my voice telling her how much I loved her and then I began to sing to her. The nurse came in to check on us and asked me, what lullaby I was singing. It wasn't a lullaby, it was my fondest wish for my struggling child... I was singing - "I'll be Home For Christmas".
|Someone must have heard my song, because here is Natalie with me at my mom's home, her first Christmas Eve|
And today is her birthday.
Best Gift Ever.