There is something magical about traditions, particularly at this time of year as we say goodbye to the old and bring in the new. It can be such a pull to make sure a family or friendship customs happen successfully each year!
We have many traditions in our family and one definitely comes to mind as the New Year begins. As a busy Mom, I dream of a perfectly clean house. Of course, it never happens, but it is a pretty dream so I keep it on my bucket list! On that endless climb to the summit of Mount Clean House, we tackle a special cleaning project each January.
I compulsively avoid the reality television shows about hoarders. The mere thought of all of that mess makes me itchy. However, it seems I am a hemophilia pack-rat. I just cannot throw away a medical ancillary supply if it is still in its sterile package and hasn’t expired! There simply must be a useful home for it somewhere. We receive a butterfly needle, alcohol wipes, sterile gauze and a band-aid in every box of factor. We use at least two boxes, sometimes three or four boxes, for each infusion. It is also fair to note that Benny’s “extreme preference” is that we only poke once for any single infusion so we always have leftovers. (Bad Mom joke there!)
All year long we collect these extra ancillaries, fill zip lock baggies with them and store in large totes. Every January, we pull out the totes and sort and pack everything to ship. We’ve found several places over the years to donate things to.*
In the midst of our sorting, we always have really amazing family conversations. Often the topics are reflections of things that have happened in the world during the year because we ponder where the supplies will end up and who they will help. It is education and togetherness while doing something good for others. When the boys were little, our discussions were about not everyone having the same hemophilia care or even the same toys and things they did. One year that even meant an extra package to Project SHARE filled with stuffed animals with the tags still on, that the boys wanted to send to kids with hemophilia in other countries. That was a fun box to pack!
As my boys have gotten older, our conversations have morphed into more complicated discussions about families both here in the USA and the rest of the world. What are different lives like? What about people with hemophilia in very poor countries? What about people here in the USA who are sick but don’t have family support or good care? It has been amazing to watch their world view grow as they think through the realities of some people living their whole lives in poverty, being alone, or perhaps having a crisis when there is a natural disaster or war and have so much struggle.
What is really neat to see is that they are practicing the lessons of sharing and giving beyond packing our extra ancillary supplies each year. Jonnie loves to bake and give treats to the widow who lives down the street from us. We also like to help shovel her driveway and sidewalk after our crazy Wisconsin snowstorms and have a family competition of who will get over to her house first. Last year Benny really understood what those red Salvation Army buckets were for and put coins in when we saw them. We also rescued a puppy a few years ago and have been experimenting with training him as a therapy dog, taking him to the hospital to see folks we know would enjoy it.
Yep, I’m very pleased with how my two little “monsters” are growing up and giving back. For all the moms reading, we can report that the cleaning project does successfully re-take a hill on Mount Clean House each year.
I hope you have at least one great family tradition too! I try to never forget we are all in this together and giving back is so important, however that give back happens. Money, time and talents all count! From our family to yours, happy traditions and Happy New Year!
* Several local hemophilia organizations accept ancillary supplies and share them with other hemophilia families in the US who need them. (Some insurances don’t cover ancillaries and these local hemophilia chapters provide this critical support.) If a local group is not available, there are also national and international aid organizations that accept non-expired supplies. We personally have shipped to the following organization that accepts non expired supplies:
International Medical Equipment Collaborative (IMEC)
1600 Osgood St
North Andover, MA 01845
Another possible organization to ship unused, non-expired supplies (also, check with your local animal shelter – many can use the ancillary supplies):
10377 E. Geddes Avenue, Suite 200
Centennial, CO 80112-3740
Phone: (303) 792-0729
Fax: (303) 792-0744
Kimberly lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Howard, and boys Ben (11) and Johnny (9).
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.