“I do believe in an everyday sort of magic — the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we’re alone.”    -Charles de Lint

Last year, the majority of our days – including holidays – were spent at the hospital and the Ronald McDonald House. RMH is a treasured and welcoming home away from home for us. We have stayed at three different homes over the past two years. Each one has a charm of its own. Here on Grand Avenue just blocks from Lake Michigan, we feel loved and protected amid the hustle and noise of the city.

Here we are upon today’s arrival:

Yes, I am wearing a birthday tiara. Today is my birthday! The boys gave it to me six years ago. It used to light up, too. It had been lost until this summer. I’ve kept it at the top of my closet for the past three months waiting for this day 🙂

RMH saved me from myself over two years ago when I was trying to “tough it out” at the hospital so I could contantly be by Abraham’s side. When I was forced to relent and get some sleep (I was kindly escorted by a strong paramedic off the hospital premises due exhaustion), I quickly realized what a blessing Ronald McDonald House Charities would be for our family.

Volunteers and donations keep RMH running. Anyone who uses Amazon Smile can support this oasis for families with critically ill children. Choose a house in your area, or donate to the ones nearest our heart at Ronald McDonald Charities Chicagoland and northwest Indiana.

Oftentimes, there is a care package of sorts in our room here at RMH when we arrive. Sometimes it’s a toothbrush, or maybe even a hat or blanket for Abraham. Today, there was a beanie baby – a very special one. 

When Abram pulled the little brown and black beanie from the bag, I exclaimed, “Congo!” 

Sure enough, I opened his tag, and that’s his name. 

How did I know? 

Over forty years ago, my mom travelled a lot for her job. On the longer trips, she would return with a beanie baby for me. The very first one she ever brought me was a gorilla named Congo. He became the leader of all my stuffed animals. 

With the magic and spirit that is Ronald McDonald House, Congo’s apparent grandson, Congo, greeted me at nearly the exact time I was born 48 years ago. 

Mom’s been gone eight years. She is with me every day in spirit , but today she really upped her game to a physical level. Abraham looked at me with awe and delight as I told him the story about his Nana. He hugged me and Congo tightly and let out an emotional, “Happy birthday, Mom!”

Try and tell me there isn’t more to the world than what we can see!

Tonight, we will take care of a few things and settle in early. Tomorrow and Wednesday Abraham will be outpatient at Lurie tending to his three-month brain and spine MRI with contrast, various tests, port maintenance, and doctor visits. 

Over our months of stay, the warm meals, soft bed, and caring staff have repeatedly brought comfort to my fatigued body and soul. Today, I am not as weary, but the light of love and synchronicity brought to my heart is without measure. 

With such an encouraging start to our week, we feel mightily prepared.

Peace, hope, love and thanks…