Last night we attended a family Christmas Party at Jill's House. We haven't been for a few years, but this year I can feel the tinge of the Christmas spirit deep within me. Our family was warmly greeted, Oliver by name. The fireplace was roaring and the lobby was decked out in beautiful decor. All of the staff and fellows wore festive hats, a perfect way to distinguish them from families. They had created craft corners and cookie decorating stations. A photographer offered her services to take family portraits in the library. Tables were filled with food and drink. And of course Santa made an appearance and gifted each child with a present.
As I weaved through the crowd holding Oliver's hand as he paced the premises, we bumped into others. No need to explain or apologize, just a simple knowing smile. We were understood. We had to stop quickly as kids ran through the crowd. We naturally made way for wheelchairs. The glow of dozens of iPads lit the way, as children used them to communicate in various ways. Quiet areas were available for those in sensory overload.
Matt was with Oliver and I found myself standing alone on the perimeter. As I glanced around the room I was overcome with joy. This safe space where families could exhale as they passed through the doors. No blaring music or flashing lights, no expensive knickknacks to avoid or stairs to navigate. No barriers. No worry.
What a blessing to enter into a party with all of your children and enjoy the celebration. Thanks to Jill's House for once again providing us with rest. And thanks to so many of my friends who have donated to a place that means so much to our family.