On Saturday, December 22, I returned to the NICU along with my son Andrew and brought dinner to the parents whose newborn babies were in the unit. We visit the NICU on a regular basis providing outreach, in addition to the food. It’s therapeutic for me and humbling for Andrew, whose presence is an inspiration to some of the parents who often times feel helpless.

But this time of year can be very overwhelming for NICU parents who have to deal with the stress of the holidays, caring for their critically ill newborns, and in some cases, the need to care for their other children. What’s makes it worse is that they know the rest of their family and friends are celebrating while their child is in the NICU.

This is one of the reasons why we started the foundation in the first place…to be able to share our own experiences of what is was like for us. And it’s important for Andrew, who “graduated” from this very NICU nearly 19 years ago, to remember what it was like for us — and him — and where his life began.

There are still many familiar faces, but on this last visit we were fortunate enough to run into Nurse Maryann who hadn’t seen Andrew since he was discharged from the NICU as a 1-month old infant. Words cannot express what it was like for me, Andrew, and of course for her.