So This is Christmas

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It’s Christmas today, that doesn’t mean much to you now but in time, it will. I’ve been so excited this year, Christmas had always been about me but this year it’s been all about your brother. It’s his 1st Christmas and I’ve felt so excited to share in his 1st experience.

I know he’s only 10 months old and can’t fully comprehend the meaning of the day either but I’ve been eager to see his face as he sees all of his new toys for so long. I’ve had that nervous excitement for months, building today up to be as special as it can be.
But I’m not yet smiling, I’m lying awake as your brother and father are still sleeping and I’m crying. I can’t yet get excited about the events of the day. It just doesn’t feel right. You see, today is your 1st Christmas too and we should be spending it together as a family unit. Instead, you lie alone in your crib at Durham Neonatal Unit and I cry because you’re not here.
I wonder whether Santa has visited you, wonder whether you sense that today is different. I wonder if you even notice that I’m not there. I’ve spent weeks dressing your isolette and crib making sure you share in the Christmas festivities. You’re wrapped in a Christmas blanket, have baubles dangling from every corner. I read you Peter Rabbit’s Christmas stories and sing Christmas carols as I sit by your side. You have your own stocking,
I’m trying to fill it with Christmas wishes. You’ve got a little Christmas baby-grow to wear for today and I’ve looked forward to seeing you in it.
   

We’ve got a busy day ahead of us though, I’m not sure when I’ll get to dress you in it. Usually I’m with you by 8am and I’m there all day until 6pm. That’s when Daddy takes over and I go home to bath your brother, sit with him on my knee, feed him a bottle, read him a story and shower him with the affection that he deserves. Today will be different though, it’s a day where we should be with you for longer but instead, we’ll only see you briefly. That’s another reason why I cry.
I feel guilty. You are my child too and even though your brother needs me more these days, I can’t help but feel like I’m neglecting you. I want to tell the world that today should have been postponed. I want to tell your grandparents that I’m not coming for dinner. I want to tell your father that Christmas is over and I’m spending the day with you but I can’t.
I feel guilty now, more. This was meant to be about your brother, you weren’t meant to be here until February and today should be his special day. I should be waking up feeling happy. I should be in his room now stirring him and taking him downstairs to show him his presents. I should want to spend today’s entirety watching him become more and more excited as he realises Santa has been to his grandparents too.
I’m going to get up now, paint my face with bravery, fight the tears and pretend that I’m strong. I’m going to watch your brother and buy into his excitement. I’m going to get dressed and race to the hospital with your presents, give you a kiss and sing you a Carol. We’re bringing Tristan today, he’ll be dressed as Santa and dishing out presents to all the nurses on your ward. They’ve been so amazing with you, they’re giving up Christmas with their own families to spend it with you and the other 7 babies on your ward.
I feel jealous. I’m jealous of the nurses for getting to spend the day with you (even though I know they’d rather be elsewhere). I’m jealous of the mothers on Ward 10 with their newborns by their side. I’m jealous of the other families who have woken up today and will spend it merry, fuelled by glorious food, laughter, love and family. I promise you baby girl, next year will be different. We’ll spend the day playing and having fun. We’ll put today behind us and make up for it, make 2015 the best Christmas ever.
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