Christmas joy remembered

Posted 12/20/23

Christmas brings such warm memories to my heart. When I was a child, all holidays were celebrated with minimal fanfare, and we didn’t make a big deal out of Christmas, either. It was still such …

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Christmas joy remembered


Christmas brings such warm memories to my heart. When I was a child, all holidays were celebrated with minimal fanfare, and we didn’t make a big deal out of Christmas, either. It was still such an exciting time! “Santa” came Christmas Eve while my brother and I hid our eyes in our bedrooms.  My dad would bang on a glass to simulate the bells on the reindeers and voila! Our presents would be under the tree! This long held tradition disappeared that Christmas Eve that my dad got a little rambunctious banging on the glass, the glass broke, and we had to make our way to the Emergency Room to get stitches. That was the year I found out there was no Santa!

When I married Hubby, his whole family came with the deal for the holidays. They had the fun tradition of purchasing a huge, 6-foot-long sandwich from Subway and serving it with various side dishes. As Hubby’s family grew, so did the sandwich.  His brothers and sister got married, had children, and then their children and ours started having children of their own. We still all get together on New Year’s Day to celebrate Christmas, and affectionately call this holiday “Big Sandwich Day.” It is funny that my adult son, Steven, thought it was an actual holiday, and has been known to ask his friends what they were doing for “Big Sandwich Day” only to be met with blank stares.

One Christmas Eve more than 30 years ago still elicits joy in my heart. That was the year that we found out that our new 2-month-old baby from Guatemala, Dinora, was profoundly deaf.  When she was in her crib and I walked in her room, it would startle her when she saw me, seemingly to not have heard my heavy footsteps. The final clue was when she was sitting on the floor in her infant seat next to me doing dishes in the kitchen. I had been washing a huge lobster pot, and it slipped from my hands, clanging loudly on the floor.  Dinora did not blink.  She just sat there, non-plussed. Realizing she had not heard the sound, I rushed her to the pediatrician, and then to Rhode Island Hospital Hearing and Speech.

A multitude of hearing tests were done, including a Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential and an MRI, which determined she was profoundly deaf due to severe pre-natal malnutrition, formally diagnosed the day before Christmas Eve. That evening we had promised Francis, age 2½, that we would go see the lights at La Salette Shrine, which we did even though I was grieving and in no mood to go

Once there, we went right over to the area where the prayer candles are lit.  Francis excitedly bounced up and down from foot to foot, getting so close to the candles he almost burnt his nose.  I helped him light a candle, after which he started to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  I lit a candle and crabbily thought “THANKS, God.  I have a son who is blind and now I have a daughter who is deaf!” I was not very appreciative of all the other blessings I had.

The next morning, the dog barked, and it seemed to wake Dinora up.  I went clambering into her bedroom and she turned to look at me, as though she had heard my footsteps. I started to talk to her, and a big smile came over her face.  She had HEARD me! We had such a joyous Christmas celebration that year!  When I took her back to R I Hospital to demonstrate that she could hear, the doctor was stunned. I have a written report from him that states that there is no medical explanation for what happened, other than it was a “Christmas miracle from above.”

This Christmas miracle has lived in my heart, reinforcing the joys of Christmas.


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