small miracles

December 19, 2008

When I was eight, my mom and stepfather went away for a mid-December weekend in New England. She was seven months pregnant and they had planned a pre-baby getaway before my little brother was to be born.

Plans quickly changed when my mom went into labor as they drove through the mountains of Vermont. At 27 weeks, and with under-developed lungs, Benjamin was delivered at the nearest (and tiniest) local hospital. My stepfather spent the first few moments of Ben's life helping him breathe using a hand-operated respirator and within hours, they sent both of them by helicopter to the closest hospital with a prenatal intensive care unit. My mom joined them a few days later and there they stayed, in New Hampshire, through the holidays until everyone was healthy enough to come home.

Needless to say, it was a difficult Christmas for one little eight-year-old girl back home on Long Island. And there was only one thing I really, really wanted.

A Barbie camper.

While my family was in New Hampshire, I spent the holiday with close friends. And even though I was old enough to know the truth about Santa, I dared to wish for my own Christmas miracle; still believing in the possibility that I would find one coveted gift under the tree that December morning.

I can so vividly remember holding my breath (and back my tears) as I scanned around around the living room of our friend's house on Christmas Day-- looking for an enormous camper-shaped present.

But it wasn't there.

I'm not sure if it was the absence of my family or not seeing the present I desperately wanted needed, but when that last (non-Barbie) gift was opened... I sobbed.

And sobbed.

After a few painful moments, when the tears had finally cleared from my watery eyes, I glanced up to see the most glorious, oddly-wrapped present being rolled right towards me.

Then I cried some more.

Happy birthday, my little brother. You were the real miracle that Christmas. Come home safely and soon.


Erin @ Bride Design said...

Now you need to add "gifted storyteller" to your resume. I was crying with your little 8 year old barbie camper obsessed self. Saying prayers for your brother, and all troops, to come home safely and soon!

Molly said...

What a touching story!

My thoughts are with your brother and all who are serving this season...hoping they all return to loved ones soon!

Anonymous said...

And the tears came.
We just got off the web cam with him and he looks great.
Thank you so much for this wonderful story, I am so proud of both of you.
Thank you, thank you thank you.
I feel like it is Mothers Day.
Love Mom

Sabina said...

How beautiful!!

Merry Christmas!!

Anonymous said...

Ah, great story, and yet the UMPTEENTH time I've said always do things to make me proud to call you my friend!! How is it that each time you top the next? :) Thinking of your family, and wishing your brother a happy birthday and a safe return home!! - Loren

Tulaloo said...

Awww, man! You made me cry!!!!

God bless your brother and thank you for sharing that story.

Vicki said...

Thanks to all my friends (and my mother)for such kind words. I know there's a picture of me playing with the camper that I need to dig up (mom?).

I'm sure my brother is going to blush when he sees this (certainly when he sees the picture) but that's what big sisters are for, right?

Anonymous said...

Today, shopping seems so easy. Stores open at 6am and stay open until midnight 7 days a week. When you 7, we still had the Blue Laws (stores were closed on Sunday) even in NY. I had ordered most of your gifts that year from the Sears catalog.

Come Christmas Eve, I was still waiting for the packages to arrive. I was devestated. I had so little to put under the tree for you.
I went from store to store and eventually found crayons and coloring books, writing paper and glue, sparkels and stickers, ribbons and bows all at my favorite supermarket-Pathmark- which dared to be open until 6 pm on Christmas Eve.

You got your presents doled out when the packages startes arriving the day after Christmas, but I wonder if that fateful day started something big?

Vicki said...

My mom is the best.

Erin @ Bride Design said...

Obviously your Mom is where you get that lovely storytelling ability from. Good gracious, even the comments on your blog are bringing me to tears now! :)

Carey@Lasso'd Moon Designs said...

Don't know how I missed this in the Christmas rush- but a beautiful story and one that made me cry as well!

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