I’m not sure how to write this post, but I want to tell the story. So I am going to leave stuff out and tell half the story. And it will probably only have meaning to me. But it’s Christmas, and I am going to get my Christmas-meaning-small joys where I can get it. Feel free to read between the lines.
Part One. I’ve been having a Christmas pity party at my house. My kids aren’t little, my family room isn’t covered in construction paper chains and handcut snowflakes. The lights aren’t up (except for the Santa on a bicycle, but he looks a little lonely). Out of the six boxes of Christmas decorations, we only put up two. I can’t unearth the box of Christmas books. I am pretty sure the Christmas spirit hasn’t invaded our home yet, and that makes me sad and wistful and even a little mad. I have no problem giving up the Easter Bunny or The Great Pumpkin, but I really wasn’t prepared to give up Santa so soon. And yes, I am aware that my children are almost 16 and 22. We know who the least mature one in the family is.
Part Two. My town, like every town, has an agency that solicits and distributes holiday food and gifts for families in need. We have always supported them, and every school kid, business, and group has collected items for this agency. One year my mom and I did Christmas for a family, instead of for each other. So my gym picked four families to support. I have been ignoring this, as well as the gym in general. I really wasn’t in the mood for helping other people. It annoyed me when they were collecting coats and cans at Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t going to participate. Can’t I just exercise without having to care? And yes, I know this post doesn’t show me in the best light….but it’s the truth.
Part Three. Last night, despite all intentions, I accidentally looked at the list. It took a while for the names to come into focus. I know them. Really well. If you are here in town, and you know me, then you know them too. They used to live in my neighborhood. This fall we went to the dad’s memorial service. You were probably there, too. The girls are my girls’ ages. The mom is my friend. They live apart now, trying to keep their lives together.
I couldn’t breathe. I stopped my workout and asked the gym owner if I could have an extension on the deadline, since yesterday was the last day for donations. She said of course, yes…but don’t forget to stretch.
I know exactly what to get each of them.
I don’t have a conclusion for this. It’s 6:43 am, and I am feeling some of that Christmas spirit slip in through the back door. I know them, and you know them….we all know them, no matter where we live.
I know this isn’t a big “and then I saw the light and collected shoes for all of the babies in Iraq” kind of story. It’s just a small, very small thing.