If you know me at all, you know that I am obsessed with Christmas. Like the kind of obsessed where my roommates made me wait until after Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music out loud in our apartment (little did they know, I was bumping the *NSYNC Christmas album in October with my headphones in.) It’s my favorite. So naturally, I drag Porter to every single Christmas-themed event I can find.
While going to see Christmas lights is awesome, nothing tops an event they put on here in Utah called “Festival of Trees.” It’s magic. People decorate trees and wreaths and then they are auctioned off. All proceeds go to those being treated at Primary Children’s Hospital. My grandma introduced me to it my freshman year at BYU, and I have gone every year since.
For some reason, last year was different. The festival was a little heavy for me. It seemed like there were a lot more trees decorated in memory of loved ones. While it was a beautiful tribute and a wonderful thing for a family to do, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty. Here I was enjoying all of the Christmas trees with Porter, who is nothing short of a miracle.
After Porter’s accident, he was life-flighted to Primary Children’s Hospital. While the nerve damage was irreversible and he lost the ability to use his arm, he has still been able to live a full life. Here I was, walking around the expo center, doing nothing to help those give me the one person I can’t picture my life without.
I called my mom (if you haven’t picked up on this pattern yet, I call my mom a lot) and explained that I felt like we should be doing something different. Her response, “Carlie, what is the true meaning of Christmas?” When I didn't say anything she said, “I know what it is, do you want me to tell you?”
She then told me a story, which I had actually heard before, but for some reason had failed to remember. When I was six, I was hospitalized for pneumonia. I know, pneumonia doesn't sound like a bad deal, but when you have chicken pox, severe asthma, and an immune system that isn't fighting it off, you die. And that’s exactly what happened to me. I flat lined, twice. But for some reason, my time on earth wasn't over and I came back.
One night, as I was recovering in bed, my mom was sitting in my room and she said she began to wonder why all of this was happening to me and to our family. All of the sudden, doctors started to rush in with a patient that was in bad shape. My mom stepped outside and saw a woman sobbing hysterically.
My mom walked over to another member of the family, who my mom found out was the aunt in the family, and learned what had happened. There had been an accident. This family’s Christmas tree had caught on fire, which led to their home catching on fire. Everyone got out, except for one son. In an effort to save his brother, the older son (who had already made it out safely) ran back into the home to rescue his younger brother. As a result, the older brother was severely burned and his lungs were filled with smoke. The aunt went on to explain that the older boy was an angel of a child. He had a full-ride scholarship to UCLA and was going to be the first person in their entire family to graduate high school. The younger boy, on the other hand, was a troublemaker. He was always giving his parents fits.
My mom made her way over to the boys’ mother, who only spoke broken English. My mom for some reason wrapped her arms around this other mother as she cried and screamed for her child. Through her tears, this mother just continued to repeat, “oh my boy…my boy.”
You can probably guess how this story ends. The older son tragically died and the younger brother survived.
My mom then said to me, “It was that night as I stood there with that woman I learned the true meaning of Christmas. We are like the younger son. We are troublemakers and we all have a perfect older brother, Christ, who came in to rescue us and then died for us. He was the perfect example of love and service. Forgetting ourselves and serving others should be what Christmas is all about because that is what our Savior would do.”
So, that’s what Porter and I are trying to do this year. We have signed up to decorate a tree at the Festival of Trees. It is an event that is put on every year where people decorate trees that are then auctioned off and all of the proceeds go to the children being treated at Primary Children’s Hospital.
The theme for our tree is, “For The Love Of The Game,” which is probably not a surprise to those of you who know us. Right now, we just need to raise money to put towards our tree. Whatever is not used for the tree will go directly to Primary Children's Hospital.
We want to raise $3,000 to go towards our tree and all of the gifts we put on display with our tree. Aside from purchasing all of the decorations, we want to buy sporting equipment (bats, gloves, balls, shoes, etc.) that will be included in our display. It seems like a lot, but if we could get a little help from lots of people, we could make it AWESOME. To donate, click here.
We are also selling these rad bracelets. They say DOn’t quIT on them (don’t quit, do it…get it??). If you don’t know what the saying is referring to, read this story and find out. We are selling them for a whopping two bucks. That’s right folks, $2. That being said, we won’t turn down additional donations:)
If you want to make a donation, please visit this website. If you want to purchase a bracelet, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work on your order. Porter will also be selling them in Wayne County, Friday, October 11th. This is something we are really excited about and we would greatly appreciate your help with.
Until next time,