Last week a few medbloggers mentioned working Christmas, New Years, etc.
When I was little, my mom worked in a hospital. Hospitals don’t close for the holidays, so the employees need to work. Out of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years, we knew Mom would have one of them off and work the other two. I don’t remember it ever being a problem.
As kids, we were excited about Christmas and popped out of bed bright and early to open gifts. We had cool toys to play with, and didn’t mind at all when mom had to leave at 6:30 to be to work by 7:00. We had a fun day playing with our toys, celebrating with whichever relatives happened to visit that year. Dad cooked the meal, we kids got to help. There were goodies to munch on most of the afternoon, and when mom arrived – exhausted – at the end of the day, we sat down to Christmas dinner together. Other years mom was home all day, we had our big Christmas dinner closer to 1, then mom left for work in the afternoon/evening.
Other holidays were the same, except that we didn’t open presents. It was still fun. Some years aunts and uncles came and there was a houseful of people. Some years it was just us. We never felt deprived or resentful that mom was at work.
One Thanksgiving we learned first-hand to appreciate doctors who work on holidays. My parents sent us kids to our rooms to play and paid us each a nickle to give them some peace and quiet for a while. That’s where our toys were, so it wasn’t punishment. My brother lost his nickle. Like lots of kids, his solution was to take someone else’s – if the situation had been reversed, I might have done the same thing. Yet the situation was not reversed. Being the wonderful big sister that I was, I oh-so-gently (ha!) suggested that he return what was rightfully mine. Soon he got tired of me trying to grab the nickle and hid it in his mouth. And swallowed it. I slugged him, demanding my nickle back, and Little Brother obliged by spreading most of the contents of his stomach across my bedspread. But not my nickle, which by now must have wanted some peace and quiet of its own. Yes, it’s nice to know that there are doctors working on holidays, ready to step in if there’s an emergency.
Happy New Year!