Tonight is Christmas Eve.
The kids and I have just finished watching The Muppet Christmas Carol together, and they are snug in bed. This year, we did Christmas a day early, as we often do. Except when we do it a day late, or even earlier or later.
Amanda is at work tonight, and tomorrow night.
Amanda is a nurse, and illness doesn’t take the holidays off. Life and death don’t take the holidays off either. She doesn’t work every holiday, but every day, many must.
And so, we celebrate Christmas whenever we are able to be together. I’m pretty used to this, as my father worked as an air traffic controller most of my childhood. We always assumed that Christmas was a flexible thing. And so it is. The spirit of Christmas cannot be bound by a mere calendar.
I wanted to write something up, however, because I am proud of my wife. I am proud of the fact that she is there to care for the sick during the night shift, when most of us are enjoying peaceful slumber. I am proud that she is good at what she does. I am proud that she is usually in charge of one of the ICU units at the hospital - sometimes all three if they are short staffed. I am proud that she is often the one that the rest of the hospital relies on when something goes wrong with a patient in other units, and that she has the cool head to take charge of a situation. I am proud of the way she has taken charge in emergencies when off shift, directing CPR or otherwise assisting those who need it. I am proud that she uses her gifts to make the world a better place.
I am proud of the fact that she made her dream a reality. She has wanted to be a nurse as long as she can remember, and she put in the work and the sacrifice to make it a reality. But it’s more than a dream, it’s her calling.
I am also proud of the fact that she contributes financially to our family. I am proud that she works hard for our benefit. I have received some hateful comments (deleted) on this blog about how we are sinning because she works outside the home, and I’d be lying if I said they didn’t bother me a bit. Because it’s all too common in certain circles, the knowing “ohhhh.” when one of us discloses that she isn’t a full time stay-at-home mom, and thus failing to fulfil the role of the good “Christian” woman. I will admit it has been tempting to wish that these people might find themselves ill and in need of care - and realize that they can’t just rely on a male doctor for what they need. Without Amanda, and millions of others like her, the entire health care system would fall apart. And I am proud of that.
So, tonight, on Christmas Eve, when most of you are celebrating with family and friends, spare a thought for the many who are out there tonight keeping us well and safe: nurses and aids, law enforcement, gas station attendants, air traffic controllers, and many more that serve unseen and often unrecognized. Here’s to them, and to the sacrifices they make to make our world a better place.
And Amanda, I love you and am proud of you. You are the Christmas present I love the most every year - even if I can’t always have you next to me on Christmas Eve. God bless us, every one.