Friday, December 4, 2009

What a Night!

Tonight was the highlight of my year as a auxiliary volunteer with Children's Hospital, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The auxiliary puts on this very special event for the children of the hospital the first Friday of December.  The hospital's lobby Christmas Tree is officially lit, after Ms. Mary Ann Glazner performs a sing-a-long and Santa arrives on an antique firetruck at the end of her reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Santa visits with the patients in his chair in the lobby, the Big Top Clowns paint faces and celebrate with the kids and it's an all around wonderful way to kick off the holiday.  This year we also enjoyed performances by the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra of Birmingham and Christmas Carols by the Children's Idol contestents (CHS employees participate in a singing talent show & contest each spring at our Volunteer Banquet).

My week was a little stressful with some final details of the event getting shaken up a bit. I was informed yesterday that due to some miscommunication, the media coordinator from MYO had sent out a press release to all the Birmingham news, radio and print media that the event was open to the public!  Thankfully, the retraction they sent out on Wednesday seemed to have worked because we didn't have a mass of people arriving to meet Santa which would have been a logistical nightmare, not to mention possibly pose health risks to the patients who the program is for.  On top of it, Cory has been in Mississippi and Georgia since Monday and not expected home until tomorrow and so I had both boys in tow and at this age, no matter how much I prepare them, there is always the chance for some wildness to come out, which I definitely didn't need. 

Happily it all turned out fantastic!  The clowns were tremendous, Santa was jolly, the music was wonderful and the boys well behaved!  Although I wish we didn't have an audience of patients to host because that would mean good health for the kids, we did have a nearly full hospital so I am glad we were there for the patients and families to enjoy some holiday spirit. 

I even got a special blessing. 

While Mary Ann was playing the piano and singing carols with the Idols - Duke wandered over to her, fascinated by her playing.  He's always been drawn to music, and it was a special moment for me to watch this...

Mary Ann was so dear to involve them in her playing and I really enjoyed seeing them, especially Duke, be so fearless in trying something new.

Special thanks go out to Howard Holmes of CHS Volunteer Services who was my man on the scene for the event, Frank Hrabe his partner in crime at CHS and a dear friend of mine for years who I can count on to keep me sane, Mary Ann Glazner for her continued energy in bringing the program to the kids, the Big Top Clowns for keeping everyone joyous and happy, the MYO for making sure our concerns were addressed and playing wonderfully and being flexible, Leigh Douglas for lending me a special hand ;) and of course SANTA!

This is the way a great holiday season should always start!