The Thursday before Christmas I had a great urge to do something for someone else. So I posted on my Facebook page asking for people to nominate families that might be doing it tough. I was offering to capture moments of Christmas morning with their kids. Also on offer were presents if they couldn’t afford any for their kids. It has been a very busy year and I was a little worried about how my husband felt about me taking more time away from our family. But he knows my heart and knew this was the right thing to do. There was a great response with many worthy families but I could only choose one family. I decided to spend my Christmas morning with triplets.
Philomina is a refugee from Ghana and tragically lost her husband in August. Her husband was a very hard worker, working two jobs to support them. One day in early August he had a temperature, feeling unwell and then within a day they found out he had an infection in his heart. It was so sudden with no warning and Philomina was left with 18-month-old triplets to care for and no financial help.
Philomina is currently not a permanent resident and does not receive any benefits from the government. She has some wonderful friends who help out with looking after the kids and has received some assistance from Anglicare which is so wonderful. When I asked her if she was OK with me posting a link to her ‘Go Fund Me‘ campaign she said she didn’t want to bother people again. The campaign helps to pay for her rent until she can gain permanent residency. She is very grateful for what so many people have done for her already. I told her that I was hoping her story would be seen by new people and not just those who have donated before. So if you have any money you can give, it would be so appreciated by Philomina and her triplets.
When Philomina was Ghana, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was so important. She remembers it being as the time you might receive nice clothes and eat delicious food. They were such joyous days for her growing up. But now with her husband gone and not having family in Australia, it is very hard for her. So I felt it was time to give her a Christmas morning with her triplets that she could be happy about.
The plan for a happy Christmas!
I found the last Christmas tree at Big W and collected all my spare decorations. Christmas outfits for the kids were bought and I gave Philomina a new red dress to wear. Then my mum packaged up some turkey, pork and ham and added some delicious crackling. She also added her famous potato salad! I had a kind donation from a local community organisation of toys and wrapped them up in colourful paper. Anglicare also donated many toys for the kids and there were enough for their January birthday!
The day before Christmas Eve I had an idea to get Philomina’s husbands name on a Christmas bauble so she could always have him there with them at Christmas. She loved the idea and said she would use the bauble on the tree every year. The bauble was very kindly created and donated by Tamara who runs Cazz’s Cake House.
A Christmas morning with triplets
I arrived at 6 am and we hurriedly tried to put together the tree. We quickly found out there were missing parts. So we didn’t wreck the Christmas morning with the triplets a toy box was used to try and hold the tree in place. The kids slept till 8.30am so we had just enough time to get everything ready.
And then it was crazy town! As soon as the kids saw the tree there were stars in their eyes – they saw the glittery shiny balls and grabbed them and started bouncing them on the tiles! They were having so much fun. After about 10 minutes we settled them down for some present unwrapping and then attempted some portraits in their Christmas clothes. It was a fun morning and it made me realise how tough it really is to look after three children, all wanting your attention.
The proud mama of Shanette, Shanelle and Shane shared her thoughts about being a mother. “It is hard but so wonderful to be a mother. But you cannot cry in front of the kids, you have to be strong. I cry when I am in bed at night or just when I am alone. One time I was talking to a friend and I had a few tears in my eyes. And then Shane pulled a chair to the table, climbed on it to get a tissue for me. That is why I have to be strong, for them.”
Final thoughts on the Christmas morning with Triplets
And this is why I love to do things for others, so I can be strong for them and help them to see joy through the tough times.
After Philomina saw her online photo gallery she sent me this message. “Ooow what beautiful pictures, you made this Christmas season wonderful to us. The pictures are so natural, you have brought out the beauty in us. We love you so much, we will love to meet your family. You are an angel sent to make our day wonderful. God bless you, Gemma.”