Angels wear Black

Yesterday afternoon Ava had a pretty good rest, but didn’t manage to keep much food down.

She kept rubbing her eyes and seemed inconsolable at times.

Last night, as we got ready to meet nanna downstairs in the lobby, Ava put on a new pretty pink outfit. Daddy was already waiting for us downstairs.

I changed her diaper and got her all prepped and ready to go in her stroller. She’d eaten a banana and a full bottle of formula.

As the door latched behind us, I heard it starting… She was getting sick. She started to cry and she was sick EVERYWHERE…

As I turned around to get my magnetic key back in the lock, the door wouldn’t open. It kept giving me the red light. No green light.

I was getting frustrated, scared and couldn’t get the door open.

Green light! Green light! Where the @#$% is the green light?!?!

Finally I tried texting her daddy but he couldn’t hear his phone, so I made some fast decisions. I stripped her naked, wiped her up as best as I could and headed downstairs to tell the front desk clerk what I thought about their key system (for the record – this is the third time the key wouldn’t work in the door).

As I rounded the corner with Ava crying loudly two people in custom Marriott black uniforms stopped me and asked me if they could help.

I replied, “Does it look like it? Yes, please. I need a key that works. My daughter’s been sick everywhere and she JUST got out of the hospital. I’m worried about her.”

They took one look at Ava (and her stitched up head) and ran to get me keys that work.

They helped me get back in the elevator and asked me if there was anything else they could do.

I replied, “No thanks, we’re fine.”

As I started to calm down and changed Ava into her new outfit, I reflected on the exchange.

They had told me to be careful with the room keys because they can be demagnetized (in fairness though, they didn’t tell me they couldn’t even reside beside my blackberry in my wallet…).

They’d also acted very quickly to try and help me, and were probably caught off guard with the sight of a naked, sick child and a panic-stricken mother.

As I started to process this (and just generally calm down), Ava was able to drink a bit of juice again. We took a seat in the restaurant with her daddy and watched for nanna.

As we were sitting there a hotel server named Terry came up to us. He was also Marriott staff, wearing the black dress shirt and dress pants.

He asked me what he could get for Ava.

He said, “I have many nieces and nephews and we see a lot of children that have had a tough time at this hotel. Can I get you crackers? Juice? You name it, I’ll find it for her.”

I smiled and said, “Thanks, it’s okay. She’ll be okay. I’ll just let her sit for a while and relax.”

Another ten minutes passed, and we were starting to chat about the day and our plans over the next few days.

Charlotte from the front desk stopped by. “How’s Ava doing tonight? I have a little pink toy for her I bought today.”

“Wow – really? Thank you. That’s very sweet of you!” (Charlotte who?!?!).

Brian ordered a beer, I ordered a cranberry soda and we continued to wait for nanna’s arrival.

After another ten minutes or so, someone brushed past our table and dropped forty dollars on the side of it. It all happened so fast…

I said “Excuse me miss, you dropped something”, but she kept walking.

At this point, Brian’s as confused as I am and we’re both looking around wondering what the heck is going on.


Just then Terry popped by again.

“Terry – who was that and why did she drop forty bucks on our table?”

“We have a lot of compassionate people in this hotel. She’s a girl who works here and heard about Ava’s situation last week. She’s not working tonight, but she was having a drink at the bar and she saw you guys come in. She wanted to buy you dinner.”

My shoulders started to shake and the tears started rolling… As I groped for a kleenex in the bottom of the diaper bag I couldn’t help but think…

There it is. Yet another shining example of profound empathy and compassion.

Nanna arrived just then.

She hugged me and then she hugged Ava for a long time.

She ordered a cup of tea and the four of us didn’t really say very much. We just sat there. Sharing in the warmth of the human spirit.

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40 Responses to Angels wear Black

  1. Janet says:

    OMG….what are you trying to do to me, I’m sitting here in school with tears running down my face. We are planning to get a room downtown the night before Fiona’s next surgery so we don’t have to get up so early…..I know where we are going to stay now.
    Please email me, I would love to meet up before you leave.

  2. lynda says:

    Melissa, your bravery and willingness to share has touched so many people. It has certainly made me see the sunbeams and goodness in life. As a fellow Mom, I hope and pray for a speedy recovery for Ava and happy times ahead for your little family.

  3. Kate Braden says:

    Shivers and tears, so beatiful!!

  4. Kate Braden says:

    oops I mean beautiful:-)

  5. Angie says:

    I’m so touched right now, I’m finding it hard to even speak. I love when people do good.

  6. Kerri says:

    Mel, this story is so incredible, the strength that you have in your family to get through all of these events and to then chronicle them is amazing. I have no doubt the therapeutic value that you get in writing it down gives so many others hope and light. As a new parent, this entire journey has been pulling at my heart strings and most times brings a tear to my eye or goosebumps to my arms as I read these posts. We are sending our thoughts, love and positive energy your way everyday. Ava is strong little fighter with everyday giving her a little more strength for a full recovery!

    Love and light to you all! xo

  7. Becky says:

    I have been following Ava’s journey I am so happy that she is doing so well, she really looks amazing. I hope her tummy settles soon. You are one strong and amazing mommy!
    I actually saw you at SK the day before surgery (we were there for an eye clinic appointment and were near the Shoppers Drug Mart) it was a quick pass in the hall and by the time I figured out why you looked so familiar we had passed one another. It was strange for the www. to pop into every day life.
    All the best

    • Melissa says:

      Ahh! It’s too bad I didn’t get a chance to give you a hug Becky! You’ve been so sweet and kind (even just via the www!!).
      Isn’t it funny how life intersects like that…
      And thanks for the kudos on parenting, right back at you.
      Keep in touch. xoxo

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