Family gatherings have always been important to Tommy and me. Our parents were fortunate that all of their children chose to live in Texas after they married and started their own families. Until my mother went into an assisted living facility she always had Thanksgiving at her home in San Antonio. We had as many as 38 people sit down to dinner in her home. We spent every Christmas Eve with my mother and Christmas Day was spent at Tommy’s parents’ home with his sister and family. It was a family tradition.
We try to get our children and their families together at Christmas time at least for a few days. Most years, like the last two, we have had everyone in our home together for our family Christmas. We play card games, look at old family photos, have traditional turkey dinner lunch, tamales and chili another night, put together the Christmas toys, play baseball in the backyard, reminisce about years gone by, etc. These are my happiest days all year-long. Last year was especially exciting with the anticipation of a new baby in the family. Troy and Michelle were expecting their first child in late May 2015. Ashton was our last baby, and he was soon to be 7 years old. So we were all ready for another baby.
Troy and Michelle live in Long Beach, California, so we had to rely on pictures, texts and emails letting us know about their baby to come. We started a group text with our family members when Troy was ready to take Michelle to the hospital on her due date.
We all waited for any kind of word or any pictures of Baby T. It was difficult not to be there as Tommy and I have been present at the birth of all of our other five grandchildren. Finally the word came that Michelle had delivered an 8 lb. 4 oz., 20″ long baby boy on June 1. She is only 5 feet tall so this was a big baby for her to carry and deliver.
Soon more pictures started coming in. We all wished we could actually be there in California and share in the joy of Troy’s first-born. He’s 40 years old so he’s waited a long time to hold a son in his arms. Thank you, Michelle.
It seemed like an impossibility for me to travel to California at this time as I was in my second cycle of chemo treatment for MDS. I was taking chemo by tablet, but under the supervision of hospital staff. I thought I’d have to be at MD Anderson for six days straight as I had been for the first cycle. Surprisingly, on day 3 I found out that the last three days of the cycle I could take the tablets on my own. I was free from the hospital Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I started scheming. Holly, our daughter, said to count her in. So Tommy made hotel reservations and Holly flight reservations so we could fly to LA on Saturday morning, June 6, and get back home again at midnight on Monday, June 8. It was our little window of time. It wasn’t much time, but we wanted to be with our son, Michelle and Baby.
We thought we’d get to see the little family at their home in Long Beach, but then learned the baby wasn’t going to be released from the hospital for 5 days. Michelle had a fever during labor and as a precaution, they wanted to keep the baby in the hospital and give him antibiotics. He wouldn’t come home from the hospital until the day we were leaving. Troy asked us to please come out any way. So we did. How could we not see this little guy as a new-born?
T. was in ICU so only one of us could go in to see him at a time with either Troy or Michelle. Troy took me in first. I held him for an hour taking in all his precious features. Life was so good. Such happiness and love overwhelmed me. I wanted to take that feeling back to Texas with me. Our time with him was so short.
We set-up our own little area in the waiting room near a wall of windows anxiously waiting for the next chance to see and hold the baby. We played cards, read, talked, ate, walked around one at a time, etc. We didn’t want to miss any opportunity to have our turn with Baby T.
Over those two days we each got a couple of turns to hold the baby.
Our third and last day to be in California was the day T. was to go home. As the time went by, we didn’t think we would be able to see Troy and Michelle take their baby home. We had to be at the airport at 6:00 that evening. As we waited in the waiting room, Michelle and Troy did what was necessary to get their baby checked out of the hospital. It was 3:30. We’d just have a little bit of time to be with them at their home. It was an exciting time bringing baby home, and we were there.
Michelle and Troy could hold their baby without any monitors or IV’s attached. Michelle was so happy to have her baby home. Sweet Mommy and baby.
Shortly after we got home, Michelle’s mom and dad and brothers, sister-in-laws and nephews arrived. It was a busy welcome home for T.
I held T. until the last possible second. With tears and good-byes, I had to hand him off to Michelle’s mom. I will hold his precious face and gentle soul in my heart until we meet again.
We hope they will come to our home in Houston for Christmas 2015. Then we will have 14 Murrah family. Oh, happiest of days for Grammy and Granddaddy.