Smiles can go a long way. When a strangers hits me with a grin, I naturally smile back and want to pass it on to someone else. When my husband, coming home from a long day at work, smiles at me I feel loved and appreciated. For a while, my favorite beaming faces came from our NICU nurses. They helped me feel at ease, less stressed, and gave me confidence that everything really would be alright.
Here I am, five years since our extended stay at the hospital, so names, experiences, and faces are pretty fuzzy. There are some nurses that I have found via social media that keep some memories more vivid. But there was one particular face, voice, name, and most importantly her smile, that I can never erase from my memory. She is a ball of energy and a delight to everyone with whom she comes in contact. Books often refer to a smile that lights up a room. I believe Scarlett is the epitome of that. She truly is a ray of sunshine.
I arrived at the NICU one morning to hear a booming voice followed by the most infectious ring of laughter I had ever heard. A laugh so delightful, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh to myself. Scarlett came into my life that day.
While in the hospital, Scarlett and I never spoke of religion. We never had to. I knew she was a follower of Jesus Christ. From the first moment I met her, Christ radiated from every fiber of her being. She was authentic, genuinely loving, and absolutely filled with joy. I had and still have not ever met anyone quite like her.
Scarlett told my husband and I that while our girls were in the hospital, we needed to get out and enjoy as much alone time as we could. She told us to go and have a really nice steak dinner because life as we know it was about to change completely. She told us that never again would we be able to go out for a dinner alone without having a babysitter at our house or a child at our side. While we were concerned about our children, she reminded us that we also have to take care of ourselves as well as our marriage.
One day, I saw her sitting over at the nurses desk on the phone, her head down, and she was wiping tears from her eyes. When she came over to me a while later, her tears were gone, and she was focused on my family. I asked her if she was ok, and she assured me that she was. I don’t believe her smiles were fake. I believe she realized the importance of stability and of positivity when a family is putting the lives of their newborn children in the hands of nurses and doctors. While I hurt for her, knowing something was not right, I appreciated her ability to still do her job affectively as well as continuing to make me feel at ease.
Some months later, long after the girls were home from the hospital, I found Scarlett via Facebook. I discovered that she was working for a jewelry company and would be at the mall selling necklaces. I bundled up my girls and made my way to find her. What a reunion! I finally got to show her how well my little 3 1/2 pound newborns were now doing, healthy and nearly a year old. I got to hug her and thank her for who she had been to me. I got to share how Jesus shines through her and how much I appreciated what she meant to me while she helped my girls and me with our time spent together.
I have a necklace that I purchased from Scarlett. It’s so appropriate. It’s a floating locket that represents my becoming a mom. A piece of jewelry I waited 35 long years to earn. Creating the locket was a great experience, but having Scarlett as the one who helped me make it seems just perfect.
Scarlett has become more than just a former nurse. She even came to the girls first birthday party! She and I have gotten together on a few occasions. Not too long ago she moved a couple of hours away, but we still keep in touch. She is one person that I will be eternally grateful to and for. I feel my life is more complete with her in it, even from afar.
I believe there are very few people as unique and honestly as special as Scarlett is. Everyone needs a Scarlett in his or her life. I wish the world was filled with more of her. But for now, I can just try to be a Scarlett to someone else, starting with my children.