A Christmas Gift from McDonald’s

December14

When our eldest child was five years old we had an extended stay at the Children’s Hospital here in Winnipeg. It was there that we met a little girl that I am going to call Britney. She was in the room next to ours and the two girls loved to play Barbie’s together and Britney’s Mom and I would try to support each other the best we could. I remember the day that we were able to finally go home after our ordeal. December 8 will long be fixed in my memory. Our daughter “Beep” as she is called in this space went to a new school in January where she received all of her necessary therapies as a part of her school day. Before that occurred though, she was an outpatient at the hospital and whenever we were in the building we would go to visit Britney. Beep even got to attend a Christmas party with Britney that was put on by Cancer Care. You see Britney had leukemia. On the day of Christmas Eve, Beep wanted us to delivery Britney’s Christmas present but when we arrived on the ward, we were told that Britney wasn’t feeling up to visitors. We left her gift for her to open whenever she felt up to it. On Boxing Day, without ever having opened her gifts Britney passed away. We had gone to visit the ward that day too and all the nurses were so upset that they were visibly weeping and trying to take care of all of the other sick little ones.

Britney’s Mother was a single Mom from somewhere in the province. She spent every single waking hour at the hospital by Britney’s side. Once Britney had fallen asleep at night, she was encouraged to go take some time for herself, have a good rest and return the next day. This went on for months on end. Luckily for Britney, her Mom was able to stay in the city the entire time and be within walking distance of the hospital. Britney’s Mom spent her nights at Ronald McDonald House. She shared with me that she did not know what she would have done if it were not for the House. She wasn’t willing to spend any time away from Britney as she must have known that their days together were few.

These days Beep has grown up to be a beautiful, intelligent woman and is in the midst of obtaining her Masters Degree at the University of Manitoba. My time had freed up and I was a volunteer at the Children’s Hospital, sometimes on the very ward where Beep and Britney played with their Barbies. In addition to the House which is close by, there is a Ronald McDonald suite right in the hospital. Here families can do their laundry, get caught up on the world through provided computers, make phone calls, relax in front of the fire, bake cookies, watch movies and play with their other children (as often times, a whole family will attend a sick child to the hospital). I have often encouraged parents to take a break and head to the facility while I spent some time hugging their baby or playing on the floor with their toddler.

Recently though, with our own grandbaby and another on the way, I spend the hours that I might have been volunteering, babysitting the Wee One. She is an absolute joy and both D and I are excited every time we get to spend time with her. This weekend she had a sleep over with us and on Saturday evening, I let her open a Christmas gift that had been delivered from McDonalds. A box was filled with a number of treats but the best one was that they had made a donation to Ronald McDonald House in my name, so that a Mom like Britney’s can be close to their child at Christmas.

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The Wee One hasn’t been to McDonalds very often and loved her happy meal with its little “Build a Bear” toy. In turn I was pleased with the sautéed onions, double cheese and pretzel bun of the Jolly Burger from their Holiday Warmer menu.

Here is the Wee One in the act of opening “Glamma’s” gift.

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Poppa read us the card from a Ronald McDonald House Family and then the Wee One gave us her rendition. A healthy child is a blessing that we never, ever take for granted.

Kath’s quote: None of Us is as Good as All of Us.”-Ray Kroc of McDonalds

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Love, that is all.

 

 


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