Life with Ladybug: The Christmas Eve story our family will never forget

By Shannon Magsam

He came home from work for lunch and his wife begged him to take the rest of the day off. It was their first Christmas Eve with the baby and a light snow had started to fall.

But he had a few tasks to finish, so he kissed her and their 4-month-old daughter goodbye and said he would be back soon. A few hours later, his wife heard someone in the drive, but it wasn’t his motorcycle. Before she reached the front door, her knees got weak. She knew in her bones something awful had happened.

At the hospital, she learned that a car, driven by a 16-year-old boy, had struck his motorcycle. He was on his way home, pulling out into the street, when it happened. Strangers stopped to help. An ambulance came. They couldn’t save his leg.

Instead of gathering around the tree at grandma’s house that night, the family gathered around a hospital bed. They prayed. They cried.

When he woke, she told him about the leg. She told him in a million different ways that it didn’t matter to her. He was still hers, he was still here, it would be ok. Everything would be ok.

Two days later, she was in the waiting room when she heard a scream. Fearing that it came from his room, she ran. A nurse, who was just walking into the hospital a few minutes early, also heard the scream and ran. The nurse made it into his room before the doctors and immediately started CPR. He had stopped breathing, but this nurse – considered an angel in our family — was able to bring him back.

And he has been back ever since. I was that baby and every time I think of that Christmas Eve I am so grateful that my dad survived and that my younger sister and brother were born. I am grateful my mother still has her true love.

I was thinking of the Christmas Eve story today when I heard that a friend’s dad had died. I called my own dad on the phone and we talked about his favorite thing: the weather. It was raining. If it was just a little bit colder, it would be a big snow instead, we agreed.

I told him happy new year. I told him I love you.

I didn’t tell him how much he inspires me because delving into deep feelings makes him a little uncomfortable.

But you do inspire me, daddy.

He turned 70 over the summer. He’s still so handsome and works hard. He keeps pretending to retire, then takes on another job, building a road or digging out a swimming pool for somebody with his backhoe.

He has always been a man who stood on his own two feet (even though one of them is wooden).

Here’s to 2013. Here’s to family and to perseverance and to working hard. Here’s to love.


Blue dress, shannon, croppedShannon Magsam is mom to 10-year-old Ladybug, married to Ladybug’s dad, John, and co-founder of To read previously published installments of Life With Ladybug, click here.


  1. Laurie,

    Thanks for reading my post — and for being so good to comment. It means a lot.


Comments are closed.