*We’re now on day 3 of the December Blog challenge. Obviously I’ve already blown it, but I’m going to participate anyways.
Last week I was feeling like Charlie Brown.
We’ve made an effort this Christmas to simplify the holiday and spend it together, enjoying what we have and not concentrating so much on what we’d get. We decided that, as a family, we’d each get 3 gifts (if it was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for us). We also told our extended family to not expect much from us, and in return, they need not gift us that year either. It was refreshing to see how many people were just plain relieved. I decided, however, to give some crafty presents, making frames for some people. The gifts were kind of cute and simple, but of course, I waited too long to have my pictures printed. As it turns out, if you need pictures printed on the week before Christmas, you are screwed. I’m not going to go into the saga, or tell you how much time was wasted by dealing with Walgreens and Target. I’ll just say that, by about 5pm last Wednesday, I was in tears over photo processing. There were many other factors contributing to my pre-Christmas breakdown (including B’s trip to the ER, our illnesses, a couple of disagreements with law enforcement-yup-, the lights in my garland going out and the shortage of white lights in this town, and the fact that the laundry fairy was stubbornly absent). Regardless, I was a mess.
I knew in my heart of hearts that these things were not important. I know why we celebrate Christmas, but I was still overwhelmed. What was getting to me was that realization that comes with parenthood: The magical feeling that comes with Christmas did not just happen. It had a great deal to do with my own parents’ very hard work. They went to great effort to ensure that I understood the birth of Christ and His meaning on earth. They also went to great effort to make the celebration of that day the most fun I had every single year. I want my son to think of Christmas and feel that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with it. Mom, Dad, whatever you did, you did it well. My childhood memories of Christmas conjure up the happiest emotions you could imagine. I can still close my eyes and picture our old living room, complete with green carpet and brick hearth with the huge wood burning stove blowing warm air; the tree with a million childhood ornaments on it and the puffy painted stockings. I remember going to church on Christmas Eve for our candlelight service. I vividly remember coming home after church to open our one Christmas Eve present, and Dad making us hold those presents in our lap while he read about the birth of Christ in Luke 2. I listened to that story with great concentration, because I needed it to be OVER so I can tear into that present. I’ll do the same thing to my son (and we did), because that tradition served it’s purpose. I love that story. I know it by heart. Just like Linus, I can repeat it if someone wants to know what Christmas is really all about. We had Christmases abounding with amazing gifts, and then there was the Christmas after our house flooded when we lived in someone’s guest house and were allowed to ask for one $20 gift. I’m getting to my point, but honestly, it’s difficult to stop reminiscing about my childhood Christmases. And I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks it’s very important to pass that feeling onto our kids.
That Wednesday night, as I sat in my living room, pouting, the doorbell rang. My mother, all the way from Texas, had sent me the cutest little candy cane-themed flower bouquet that I had ever seen. At that very moment, all of those childhood emotions came flooding back and I cried the happiest tears. I know how many of my friends were missing their mothers at that very moment, and I felt awesomely grateful that mine was sending me flowers. Oh, how happy I was to be snapped back into reality by those pretty flowers.
I felt like Charlie Brown when all of his friends decorated the tree he had picked and yelled, “MERRY CHRISTMAS CHARLIE BROWN!”