Bring on the Eggnog – Or Maybe a Small Child

Brenda Elsagher’s granddaughter provides pure holiday entertainment – and makes her grateful for her life-saving ostomy.

Read Brenda’s heartfelt story about how children make the holidays special

Having dealt with colorectal cancer, I understand how important it is to live each day to its fullest. Yet, surprisingly, I never believed people when they said the holidays are more fun with children around. I would think…What? What am I…chopped liver? I’m fun, I play games, I’m a great conversationalist who tells cancer survivor stories injected with humor, and I can create tasty appetizers. Aren’t I more fun than staring at children?

My own kids were amusing, but they also had to be disciplined, fed, clothed, taught things, and not believed when they said they were going to a certain place. Check and recheck, a lot of work… and yet they were the best things we ever made. They filled a void in my life I never knew I had until they were born. And then at the holidays we could relax a little because they were safely in Grandpa and Grandma’s house and they would run off giggling with their cousins and have a blast.

Here they are again…the holidays…bring on the eggnog and iced sugar cookies and let’s get this party started! Our kids are older now and they are fun, witty—more than cutesy at this point. But then something changed. We had a grandchild. At first, she was just beautiful to look at and she didn’t change the holidays too much because we just passed her around and sighed in contentment.

She is 22 months this holiday season. She’s a little sassy in her mannerisms, she knows she’s cute…because what do we do with her now? We stare at her, play with her on the floor (after much effort getting up and down, of course) and generally smile nonstop as we play peek-a-boo with whatever is handy to hide behind…a blanket, a pillow, the dog.

Everything she does is adorable. When she comes to my house we dump a basket of old toys on the living room floor and watch in fascination as she picks up and plays with them or brings them to us to play with too. Of course she is brilliant, funny, and fast, and we are moving into that scary period when she can navigate faster than me…and when language begins. She is developing the level of skill where the communication is simple and purely honest.

Can’t wait for that! And as I write this, we are waiting for her baby brother to arrive. Two of those lovely creatures to watch, to change the holidays from games, eggnog, and delicious food to pure entertainment by little ones: a new kind of fun that requires very little but the wonderment and joy of the presence of small children.

So, do you think at this moment I am grateful for a life-saving ostomy that changed me from being a patient to a cancer survivor? You bet. My kids were three and five years old when I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. They have grown up to be lovely adults always knowing that their mom has a colostomy. And now my grandchildren will know too.

Does that matter to any of them? NO. They are grateful I am around for another holiday where we stare at these magnificent children, sigh in contentment, and love each other. I am grateful too.

Brenda Elsagher is a national keynote speaker, author and comedian. She has been living well with a colostomy since 1995. Check her funny books out at

Financial Disclosure: Brenda Elsagher received compensation from Hollister Incorporated for her contribution to this eNewsletter.