It was December of 2004 - Elle was 3 and Annie was 19 months old - when Father Christmas came to our house. It just so happened that Father Christmas showed up at Barry's office on the afternoon of our Christmas Limo Lights Tour with our friends, the Stricklins and the Lowerys. He wanted to know what he could do for our family. 2004 was the year of the "Care Bear" for us - filled with chemo and more chemo, just trying to get me to the point of being ready for bone marrow transplant (which was scheduled for January 2005). Perfect timing - Father Christmas would show up at our house after our friends arrived - a surprise for everyone! Barry let me in on the secret just before he arrived! Another special treat that evening was provided my sweet friend Marly, then about 9 or 10, who shared beautiful Christmas music on her violin! Following some time with Father Christmas and our special music, away we went in the limo to see the Christmas lights around town with hot chocolate in hand. A magical night for me and my family with some very special friends, including Father Christmas!
It was December 2005, the year of the transplant, when I received an invitation for me and my family to attend a Christmas Party at the UAB Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. They asked what my girls wanted for Christmas and I thought they were just being nice. We arrived to Christmas music, sweet treats and a visit with Santa! In the very same room where I had spent many hours in stem cell collection, we were greeted by these fabulous elves and showered with LOTS of gifts from Santa! Something for everyone and more! It took us 2 carts to carry our gifts to the car. It was almost embarassing but very heart warming at the same time. As soon as we got home, we sorted through everything and decided to "pay it forward" by donating some items to local agencies in town who needed it more than we did.
Let me explain the "Year of the Care Bear" - we have a Christmas wreath that we got the year we were married - each year we put something on the wreath that was significant in our family that year. In 2004, Elle gave me one of her stuffed Care Bears to take with me to my many doctor and hospital visits. It sits on my night stand to this day. It just seemed appropriate to add the green Care Bear to the wreath that year!
Today, I am thankful for these treasured memories to remind me of the importance of friends during difficult times, to remind me to treasure every moment and to know how blessed I am to be celebrating Christmas 2012!
Side note: Remember my friend, Marly - check out what this sweet, talented young lady (now a junior in high school) is doing now! She has started a handmade jewelry business called Knot Just Bracelets - check it out!