The Worst Christmas Ever, You Decide (Melissa Robbins)

Merry Christmas Eve to you all. When the topic of Worst Christmas Ever was suggested, I about fell out of my chair, I laughed so hard. You see, my family has a joke, “It's Christmas time. What's going to happen this year?” Since my husband, Reed and I shared our first Christmas while dating, some crazy thing has happened every year since. Like most families, over the years, we endured airport delays, illnesses, family squabbles, turkey issues, etc. When it came time to select the worst, I had several to choose from. I thought I would list our top four and let, you the readers, decide which one should be chosen as “The Worst Christmas Ever” for our family.

Heart Attack Christmas of 2003

Suppose to be a memorable Christmas because our daughter, Emma was born in 2003 and it would be her first Christmas. Reed, Emma, and I traveled to my in-laws house. On Christmas Eve, my brother-in-law had a heart attack and Reed's sister rushed him to the hospital. Reed, his aunt, and I are left to care for our niece and nephew (8 and 5) and Emma (7 months). We found ourselves taking up the role as Santa which included me gnawing on carrots (for Santa's reindeer) and eating cookies left for Santa. There was also the turkey debacle that I won't go into.

My brother-in-law had surgery Christmas day and underwent the same procedure that Reed's dad died from several years before. Stressful! I'm happy to report that BIL's surgery went fine and we celebrated a couple of days later, so maybe not the worst Christmas.

Helicopter Ride of Christmas '05

Again, suppose to be a memorable Christmas because our son, Duncan would be celebrating his first Christmas. Even more so, because by October, Duncan already had two open heart surgeries, so we will thrilled he was alive to share it with us.

After his second surgery, Duncan went home with a chest drain. Imagine a curvy straw with holes in it. We hoped Duncan would have the drain out by Christmas. Two weeks before, the nurses debated whether or not to remove the tube. They decided to wait. Duncan disagreed and pulled it out just enough to cause problems. A drain should be pulled out by a trained profession, not a six month old. We left Emma with neighbors and rushed Duncan to the ER. There was not a single doctor who had a clue what to do with a baby and a chest drain or who wanted to take charge. So after the ER doctor finally pulled out the tube, we all took an elevator ride to the top of the hospital. Imagine if you will, Reed and I looking out the window of the door to the roof of the hospital, as our son is wheeled onto a helicopter and flies off to Kansas City. Could one of us go with him? No. No room. Could I hop into a car and ride up to KC that very minute? No. It was midnight and the ground covered with snow and for those of you who have driven along the stretch of road between Wichita and Kansas City know that would have been a bad idea. I had to wait until the next morning before heading to the hospital hoping my son was okay by the time I got there.

Duncan remained at the children's hospital for a while and the doctors and nurses let us go home just before Christmas. I was thankful we didn't find ourselves opening presents around Duncan's hospital bed instead of a tree, so maybe not the worst Christmas.

Dehydration Christmas 2009

Let's jump forward a few years to 2009. I was 9 months pregnant with our fourth kid and Reed and I decided that with our track record for Christmases, that we would stay home for Christmas. This proved to be a wise decision. On Christmas Eve, Emma came down with a stomach bug. By the time, my parents and sister showed up, we were all sick. I got so dehydrated that my stomach cramped and then the cramps occurred every two minutes. Uh, oh.

Reed rushed me to the hospital. What's Christmas without a hospital visit? The nurses just thought I had the flu, but once they got Gwinn and I hooked up to the monitors and I started dry heaving, they changed their minds. Gwinn was getting stressed. The nurse filled me with two bags of saline stuff and put an oxygen mask on my face.

Do you know what happens when you get dehydrated and are 36 weeks pregnant? The baby decides “Forget this, I am out of here,” so it was a good thing we came to the hospital. Once I was re-hydrated, the contractions stopped.

I checked out of the hospital the next day. Emma was bummed we didn’t bring Gwinn back with us and my poor parents and sister got sick too, but Gwinn came a month later two days before her due date, so maybe not the worst Christmas ever.

Turkey Debacle Christmas 2008

I believe this Christmas may be the worst Christmas ever for our family. It is certainly the most infamous and most talked about. You may have even heard about it. It made the local news.

My in-laws were visiting us. Reed rose early to smoke our turkey for Christmas dinner. Just before lunch, I took Rebecca and my in-laws shopping for the after Christmas sales. Reed stayed home with Emma and Duncan. Reed called a little while later.

“Mel, come home.”


“Come home now.”

“Reed, what's wrong?”

“I set the house on fire.”

“You what?!”

When I got home, I saw several fire trucks, two ambulances, a news van, and many of my neighbors gawking at our house. Reed dumped ashes from the smoker into the plastic garbage can outside. Bad idea. The fire went from the garbage can to the garage and up the wall of the house to the attic. A neighbor saw the smoke and fire on his way to work. He called 911 and rang our door bell. Reed and the kids were in the basement and had no idea about the fire. Reed put the dogs outside, but our cat, Smokey (his name has a whole new meaning, now) hid. The firefighters eventually found him and gave him some oxygen.

The roof was toast (pun not intended), but most of our stuff survived. There was more water and smoke damage than fire damage. Emma’s room got the brunt of the damage to the bedrooms. All her new Christmas toys were gone along with her other toys. Luckily, her favorite bear survived. He had taken cover under Emma's backpack in the kitchen.

With weather, insurance squabbles, and contractors, we were out of our house for eight months while our house was repaired. At least, we were in the house for Christmas 2009.

So, readers, which of our Christmases should be named the Worst Christmas Ever? Heart Attack Christmas of 2003, Helicopter Ride of '05, Dehydration of 2009, or Turkey Debacle Christmas of 2008?

Oh, and if you are curious, we have already had Christmas Stomach Bug of 2010. Quite tame compared to other Christmases. No hospital visits. ;0)


Reese Mobley said...

OMG! You poor thing. Stay home. Lock the doors and cross your fingers that nothing else happens.

All of these things has to go into a book someday. Have a blessed, merry and safe Christmas!

Pat Davids said...

You poor thing! I'm surprized you didn't convert to Islam and leave the entire holiday behind you.

Worst? Fire. Been there, done that, didn't have a tee-shirt left, but at least mine happened on Father's Day and not Christmas.

May you have many bright, unspoiled Christmases in the future.

Unknown said...

You know the saying, "That which doesn't kill you, makes your stronger." (not quoted exactly, I know) However, if it makes you feel better, the stomach bug of 2010 is getting everyone! We had it the weekend before and now my parents have it. My dad is still sick and it's Dec. 26th!

I agree with Theresa..definitely start putting this into a book.

I also agree with Pat: lock those doors and stay inside!

I'm glad you are okay this season. Merry Christmas!

Melissa Robbins said...

I'm happy to report, our Christmas was darn right dull. Yay! I was relieved that we decided not to travel anywhere for Christmas after Delta canceled 300 of their flights to and from Atlanta. We would have had to go through Atlanta to get to my family. Of course, we would not have flown Delta anyway due to the Christmas 2006 fiasco.

Starla Kaye said...

You survived them all and that is what counts. Now just focus on the Best Christmas Ever!

Penny Rader said...

Ho - ly cow!