Last Friday started out like any other ordinary Friday. Zack and Jake went to school, I sat around in my pajamas until they came home…. No, not really. That only happens in my dreams. After school, we got a text from our neighbor asking if we were going to be home later that evening. She told us that a surprise would be coming and if we listened carefully we might even hear it approaching.
In a million years we never would have guessed what was about to happen. At the appointed time, Zack began to open the front door and listen. He told me that he did not hear anything at all. A few minutes later we began to hear sirens and horns and wondered what on earth was happening. Zack opened the door again and saw a fire truck, an ambulance, and a fire chief truck headed down our street and then they stopped…right in front of our house!
Zack had a buddy over playing and they were in awe. They were wondering what on earth was going on!
And then they saw him, the big guy himself, SANTA! He was riding on top of Tower 12 and when he got down he walked over to Zack.
Santa told Zack that he had heard he was leaving for Cincinnati for surgery soon and that he wanted to stop by to see him before he left. He asked Zack what he wanted for Christmas and told him not to worry about being gone because he knew just how to find him. (Pay no attention to the shoeless wonder. Who has time for shoes when Santa is in your driveway?)
Santa and Zack had quite a good chat. I believe they covered Zack’s wish list and many other important things. Zack did say that he just knew this was the real Santa because he knew everything about him.
Zack was so happy. He gave Santa the world’s biggest hug. Look how tightly he is holding on to him!
After Zack and Santa visited, Santa asked the firemen to give Zack a ride around our cul-de-sac. Those of you who know Zack know that he dreams of working at “Sykesville 12” when he grows up. He often tells me stories about what he will do and which truck he will drive one day. I think Zack looks like he belongs in this truck!
At the end of Zack’s ride, the driver taught him how to honk the horn and turn on the siren. Talk about a dream come true! Did you know the horn and the siren are operated with your feet? I learned something new. The firemen and Santa had Zack put on the firefighting gear and it was time for a picture.
Jim and I were overwhelmed by the generosity of all the people involved in this surprise. From our neighbor who contacted the fire department, to the men and women at Sykesville Freedom District Fire Department, to Santa himself. It was a perfect surprise on a perfect night with wonderful neighbors and friends.
One of the most impressive things, to me, was the way the children of our neighborhood made the night special for Zack. Not one of them was upset that Santa came to see Z. They were all truly excited for him. One of the girls from the family who organized the surprise said, “It was totally worth keeping the secret for Zack.” What an awesome lesson in selflessness and one I hope my children learn as well.
When we went inside, Zack was trying to process it all. He kept saying, “I just can’t handle it! I have happy tears!” I think he said that at least ten times. I know our family will be talking about this night for years to come. Thank you to all who worked so hard to make this night special for Zack.
You would think that this would have been enough excitement for one week, but the surprises kept coming. On Sunday, two sweet neighbor girls held a lemonade sale. When they finished they rang our doorbell and sang “Jingle Bells” to us and gave Zack a paper cup with money they raised because they were sad he had to have more surgery. Be still my heart!
Each day this week someone has been at our door bringing Zack a gift or spreading cheer to our family. My friends at the Y brought tears to my eyes when they surprised me with gifts to help make the hospital more comfortable. In fact, if Zack ever sleeps, you might find me and Jim snuggled up in our cozy new blanket, sipping cocoa, watching movies and eating yummy snacks. We may never want to leave! Just kidding.
This week was so incredibly overwhelming. To have our family loved on by so many is humbling. There is no way we could ever put into words how much each act of kindness has meant to us. When Zack went to bed the night Santa came, he said one last time, “Oh, mom! I just can’t handle it! I have happy tears again!” I had to reply, “Me, too, buddy. Me, too!”
We leave tomorrow morning to head to Cincinnati. Surgery is scheduled for first thing Thursday morning and should take about 4 1/2 hours. Zack will be in the hospital for five to seven days and we will need to remain in Cincinnati an additional week for more testing. Our big boys will join us for Christmas and as long as we are all together it will be a very Merry Christmas indeed.
Hug your babies!