When I told my husband I was scheduled to work Christmas morning, we immediately went into planning mode. You see, last year I worked Christmas Day. I was new, fresh off of maternity leave, and I wanted to be a team player. I didn’t say a word when I learned I was scheduled to work Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.
I actually enjoyed my shift (I used to work with kids at a psychiatric hospital), and I was off at 3pm in time to enjoy time with both my in-laws and parents. However, I was later able to look back and pinpoint Christmas Day as the catalyst for my bout with postpartum depression. I was numb after work, and I didn’t really soak up the holiday spirit. I was not gonna let that happen this year. We decided to have an early breakfast at Waffle House before my shift this year. My parents jumped at the idea when they heard. My sleepyhead brother even decided to join us. I was beyond excited!
5am Christmas mornin’ came early. I showered, dressed, and woke up my beloved. He stumbled out of bed and into a pair of long johns. Once he got his pants up over them, he walked back into the bedroom and flopped straight back on the bed. He mumbled something about needing me to come to him. I thought that lazy man was falling back asleep; apparently, his long underwear had ridden up under his pants, and he wanted me to pull them down for him! I laughed and obliged.
Ames was so cheerful. He didn’t mind the early wake-up call whatsoever. We got him into a new diaper and threw a coat over his pajamas. He cooed and giggled as Chris strapped him into the carseat, and then we were off. This might have been the best Christmas morning I’ve ever shared with my family. At one point, we were the only patrons in the diner. There was lot of coffee. My heart was full.
My shift was long, but I got through it. There was free food and lots of Christmas cheer at the hospital. Everyone working was in the same boat – at work and away from their family; we all made the most of it. Snow was falling as I ran out to greet Chris & the boys. They went overboard telling me how much they’d missed me and wishing me a Merry Christmas. I tried to soak it up, but I just wanted to be quiet for a few minutes. I could feel that dreaded darkness creeping into my heart, the bitterness at having missed another Christmas with my loved ones.
I only let one tear roll down my cheek, though. It escaped when I saw my parents standing in the doorway of their home, waiting for me with open arms. They hadn’t eaten or opened a single present all day. They’d volunteered at the local rescue mission that morning and prepared a huge meal for us to share when I got off work. I about lost it. I am so blessed!
The stockings were hung & stuffed – all 10 of them. There was one for each of us, and two mini stockings hanging behind mine. Remember the part where we’re having twin girls in the spring? Remember the time we’re about to become a family of seven, with five kids? My family is so thoughtful. Chris kept saying it over and over. I’m glad he loves my parents as much as I do.
We had an amazing late dinner and loaded everyone up. It was quick but precious. I got sad again on the way home, but the husband was so sweet and encouraging. One more day, he said. I just had to make it through one more day, and I had four days off to relax and catch up on Christmas.
That man followed through, alright. He woke up early with me yesterday and drove me to work in the snow – it was so pretty! We ate breakfast in the car and talked quietly in the empty parking lot before I walked into the hospital. It was so tender.
The day went by fairly quickly, and Chris had my parents pick me up. When we walked in the front door, he had two pots of chili on the stove, the baby bathed & pajama-ed, and the house ready for guests – my family was staying for dinner…surprise! My brother walked in a few minutes later, and we all shared a few more hours of fellowship. My mom and dad even joined in on a game of bocce ball on the new PlaystationMove, the attachment system we supposedly “got the boys” for Christmas.
This morning kicks off my four-day vacation from work.
You can follow along on my twitter account, @LetterstoAmes.
So far, I’ve showered and eaten a delicious breakfast prepared by the boys.
Now, I’m lying on my bed sipping coffee and snacking on pineapple.
Chris banished me after I tried to help him fold laundry. It’s almost 2pm.
I think I might have died and gone to heaven.
HAVE I MENTIONED I LOVE MY FAMILY?!
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