This year for the holidays the worst thing that happened to me was my flight getting canceled, sitting in the airport for six hours, being stuck on standby, and my parents driving to St. Louis to pick us up in the middle of a snowstorm. With luck and the cheesiest smile I've ever had to give, I was able to get home safely and soundly even if it was a little later than expected.
A huge thank you to my parents on that one--I couldn't imagine my life without them.
But when I was sitting on a bed in the emergency room on Christmas Eve, I realized that that worst thing that happened to me during the holidays wasn't so bad at all. That I was fortunate to have to only experience that. That I was blessed to have parents who would drive to the other side of the state just to pick me up.
When my nurse came to check on me, I was humbled into silence for a minute. It was Christmas Eve. And she had someone out there probably waiting for her to come home, or get off work early, or knowing they wouldn't get to see her that night. She might've had a family or children, or a spouse. She might've had friends or a dog or something she would've rather been doing than working in the emergency room. Because for me, at least I had my family with me that night, I wasn't alone. She was making the ultimate sacrifice and I began to realize how lucky I was to be surrounded by the people I love during the holiday seasons--I wasn't missing anything, or giving up anything, and even if I was stuck in the ER I was happy.
This one is for those heroes--the ones you might forget about sometimes when you aren't personally living with them in your life. The ones who take care of you no matte the day or time. The ones who deserve the world. The nurses, the doctors, the firefighters, the police officers, the dispatch communicators, the veterans fighting in another country. The ones who work the graveyard shifts so they can be with their family during the day and with their children opening presents in the morning. The ones who might not get a lot of sleep, but do it because its what they love and for who they love. The ones who give up their holidays so you can enjoy yours. The ones who might not have anyone to go home to, or are alone this year, and working was the only thing they had planned. The ones who couldn't make it home because they are fighting a war for our freedom. For the ones who are quiet heroes, but make a big difference.
This is for them and I want to say thank you. Again and again and again. Their work might go unnoticed, or unrecognized, or underrated, but not to me. I hope each and every one of them have a healthy, prosperous year, filled with love and family and hope. I can't give them much, and they deserve it all, but this is my thank you to what they do for me, my family, and my community.