Lesson Learned: Surprises come in small packages.

Twenty-two years ago I worked in retail and had just finished working the last day to the Christmas shopping rush. The store closed early that Christmas Eve and those of us at the store celebrated with champagne. I was pregnant and due any day. I figured a little glass of champagne wouldn’t hurt, and I deserved it after being on my feet and watching my son Hans (approx. two and a half) who was with us all day.

Once we closed the store and grabbed a bite to eat, we drove up the mountain road from Denver to our house in Bailey, Colorado. Our route took us approximately an hour to get home. The roads were covered with snow, but they were still drivable. On the way up, I explained to Hans how we’d have to get him to bed because Santa would be coming in the morning. We watched the sky for Santa’s sleigh and reindeer. No sign yet as the van stopped in our driveway. I carried my sleepy boy into the house. I set him down in the foyer and my water broke. Oh-oh. The pains began. I was in labor. I called the midwife, and she wanted me to get to the hospital.

We called Guy, our friend, to let him know it was time, since he would be taking care of Hans. We bundled up again, piled into the van, and then headed back down to Denver. I had to explain to Hans that Christmas with Santa would be delayed. Guy met us at the hospital. He stayed with us until midnight before taking a confused little boy home with him.

Willow was born on Christmas at approximately 8:30 in the morning. The nurses put her in a Christmas stocking to celebrate the day. I then received a dozen beautiful red roses, delivered less than an hour after giving birth. I looked at Willow’s father and replied, “How sweet.” He looked at me, dumbfounded. The roses weren’t from him.

The nurse explained, once she came back into the room. The bouquet of roses came from a gentleman, who remains anonymous, even to the hospital staff. The roses were in memory of his mother and given to the mother of the first child born on Christmas each year.

What a gift. My heart went out to this gentleman and to my newborn daughter snuggled in a stocking.

Happy Birthday, Willow!

And

Happy Birthday to my sister Pam – born on Christmas Eve.

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