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Holidays at the Hospital

By Melissa, a Children’s National Hospital parent
150 Years Stronger Patient Story Melissa and Justice

No one wants to spend the holidays in the hospital with a sick child. When my son Justice was at Children’s National Hospital for five months, he was a just a year old. I worried about everything, including what would the holidays be like for my other children. That year, 2016, we spent Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas at Children’s National. It wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was actually really nice.

For Halloween, Justice loved watching the therapy dogs walk by in costume. On Thanksgiving, we took over the family room on the 4th floor. My cousins came. My parents brought our older kids. We got take-out turkey, mashed potatoes and all the fixings. It was a wonderful meal. That Thanksgiving was the first time Justice started to eat again after the surgeries he needed for a dangerous blocked intestine.

For Christmas, the hospital felt festive. They had Santa and elves come for all the kids. Staff and volunteers set up an area near the cafeteria where we could go holiday “shopping.” You could pick out two new toys for each child, even siblings. Without that holiday store, we would have had no gifts for our kids that year. The surgical crew knew we had been there for a while and still had months to go. They all chipped in for a gift card to give us and threw our family holiday party. Everyone made us feel at home like family.