As we approached Christmas it seemed almost unreal that we are seven hundred miles away from all of our family and friends. The reality is we are still trying to get used to being so far away; I wanted to make this Christmas special since it marked the year of our new beginning and because the kids were having a hard time being away from Florida. We decorated the tree and even a little outside to get into the holiday spirit, we hung stockings on the fireplace and planned our “Noche Buena” (Christmas Eve) dinner. The week before Christmas I bought a few dozen tins and I baked what seemed like a ton of cookies staying up until 3am one night getting them all packaged for the kids to take to school. All the bus drivers, teachers and therapists received a gift from us. Sophie’s riding instructor Devin and even the pediatrician got some goodies. It’s important to spread the love and let people know they are appreciated. It was fun but sad at the same time as memories of the prior years baking day flooded my mind, it was special because I spent that day with someone I used to hold very dear to me; but life happens and we must move forward and make new special moments.
Since Sophie’s birth Christmas has been difficult for my family, we live on a pretty tight budget with only one income. The luxuries we once had when there were two incomes are long gone, it’s hard because I love to buy gifts for others especially my children. As a child nothing was ever a big deal for myself and my husband never really celebrated anything so for us it’s important to do big holidays and birthdays, those memories are what will live on in the end.
As we approached the holidays there was not much room in my budget for gifts but I had a plan, I had discussed with my older kids that things were tough and that they could possibly get a certificate with a future date for an item they wanted like an IOU. I felt horrible and I prayed to God to just make it happy for my kids and I thought it would be better than nothing right? Than when we least expected it we received several unexpected gifts that we never could have imagined would come to us. This anonymous person cared enough to give us these gifts, to spread the love just out of the goodness of their hearts. I cried in happiness and was totally speechless because it’s not often that I have been a receiver of generosity of this magnitude.
I can recall the only true acts of kindness by my friends Bev and Glenna. Bev was my angel of generosity when Sophie was born when our life started to fall apart. She was always there to let me cry on her shoulder, she bought me groceries when we had no money for food and even played secret santa last year because she did not want my children to go with out. My friend Glenna has also been there with special gifts of support and love from the beginning of our friendship. Amazing that those who have shown my family the greatest love, kindness and support are not family but friends, friends united by something stronger than the ties of blood.
And a big thanks to my brother who always comes through with gifts to the kids. Each time I hear others speak of relatives calling to speak to their kids or receiving gifts from family members in the mail for the kids it breaks my heart a little, I wish my kids had that. My kids don’t have grandparents that are involved, at all. My mother never cared about me so why would she care about my kids, sad but true. And my husband was not raised with a close relationship to his father so that closeness to our children is not really there. Distance is not an excuse, especially when we live in an era where there is so much technology. But I hope that will change in the near future, my children long for relationships with family.
Thanks to my Christmas angel this year I had the opportunity to go shopping. It had been so long since I was able to do it so I really enjoyed it, I took this opportunity to focus on necessary gifts so the kids got clothes and shoes and the small children got some little extras. I was so very happy to spread some love buy gifts for our friends kids, and my husband gave his coworker a gift as well it just made us extra happy.
We had our Noche Buena dinner with our friends Barbara and her husband Ron, our neighbor across from us stopped over for a drink and dinner and my other friend Gina her husband Ron and the kids also stopped in. We talked, ate, drank and the kids exchanged gifts. When the guests left Santa brought all the gifts out of hiding and we made it to bed just after midnight.
The next morning, Christmas morning we awoke to excited children anxious to see what Santa had brought them! It was perfect, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. They were all so happy and grateful. We spent the day in pajamas watching movies and doing nothing but just being together. A wonderful Christmas in my book, I can only look forward to a better one in 2013 because it can only get better from here.