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A new kind of Christmas: A husband, a hospital, and a whole lotta change

I've always been one for traditions. From going around on Christmas Eve to look at lights, to eating fruit crepes on Christmas morning. When I got married to the love of my life on September 14th of this year, I knew traditions would change. And as happy as I was (and am) about being a Mrs., my heart ached knowing that things would have to change.

Along with getting married, my new full-time nursing gig threatened to change traditions. I love my job, and I love not having to spend every free moment studying, but currently I'm missing my month long Christmas break that I got in college! Some people say that deciding what to do for the holidays is one of the challenges early on in marriage. For better or worse,  I found out in early October that I would be working Christmas Day, so the decision was made for us and holidays became a non-issue. 

So, Christmas 2013 has come and gone. It was different, with new traditions made and old traditions that didn't happen, but it was oh so beautiful in it's own way. Have a peek:

Our first Christmas tree in our little apartment, making our new home seem so much homier! 

We started off our Christmas celebration with a surprise for the husband man- a trip to watch our favorite basketball team play. Go Nuggs! 

We headed down to Colorado Springs to stay with Alex's parents. We visited the Broadmoor-an incredibly fancy hotel that is decorated with lights and beautiful trees. 

Oh. And a giant life-size gingerbread house. Note that it is MUCH taller than my already 6 foot 3 husband. The Broadmoor also just happens to have grand pianos all over the place. So, I took a sit at one and played Christmas carols with the family singing along. 

Christmas Eve rolled around and we spent it with my husband's family since I would be working the next day. We helped prepare prime rib and shrimp for Christmas Eve dinner (can you say "best meal you've ever tasted?"), and headed out for Christmas Eve service with the entire family. 

We came back and played games while the prime rib cooked, and then it was time to dig in! 

 For those who know me, I have always LOVED celebrating holidays whether it be birthdays or Christmas on the actual day. Part of what I'm learning in this whole adult thing is that the expectation of doing things on the actual day is more or less unrealistic. So as we opened presents a day "early", I reminded myself that quality time counts, no matter the time or officially designated day. 

And finally the most long awaited day of the year- December 25, 2013. I got an early start to the day- 4:45 AM to be exact. As I drove to the hospital in complete darkness singing Christmas carols in the car, I reminded myself that while I was working on Christmas day, at least I wasn't a child in the hospital on Christmas day. 

Work was weirdly empty with only 9 out of our 24 beds on our wing full. Four nurses started the day, one went home, leaving three of us to stuff our faces with an inordinate amount of goodies. 

Most of my patients were little babies, and probably not in tune to the fact that they were spending Christmas in the hospital. Their parents, however, were very in tune to this fact. And though I could see the sadness and longing to be home on Christmas day, they all agreed that the best Christmas present they could get was their child's health... even if it meant spending December 25th in a hospital room. 

Christmas Day I was thankful that I was in the position to offer a smile and a helping hand even though it meant being away from my own family.  

Many of my fellow colleagues Christmas Day had children of their own that were celebrating Christmas without their mama or papa- I was thankful that, though I must work, at least I don't have any of my own kiddos at home (yet) that I must leave for the day.

Christmas Day was different- I wouldn't choose to work it again, but at the same time it was a good reminder to be thankful for all that I have. To remember that family counts, not a day on a calendar. To remember that Jesus' birth can be celebrated by serving His children. 

Early morning the day after Christmas, husband man and I left early to Durango to celebrate Christmas with my family. We got to spend time around a third beautiful tree, open Christmas presents a second time, and just spend time together. 

This year was different. But I got two full days of Christmas and a chance to shine the light of Jesus at work. New traditions were made (I 'm totally okay with prime rib and shrimp instead of ham for Christmas dinner), and old ones were kept (like each taking turns to open presents). 

Most of all, I was with the people I love, laughing and making memories that I will have forever. We celebrated the birth of our Lord and the blessings of the past year which is really the only tradition that matters. 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 

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