|Ten stockings from our blended family wait to be filled.|
Merry Christmas from Roxanne!
My 82-year-old mother hasn’t had all her children and grandchildren together to celebrate Christmas in 21 years, so we’re having a family reunion this holiday. My daughter, who works in retail, had to jump through hoops and beg her boss for two days off in order to attend. I’m praying the airlines cooperate with her late Christmas Eve flight.
So, guess who’s hosting this shindig? Yep. Me!
You can bet there are plenty of items on my to-do list. But nowhere on my agenda were the words “flu”, “sinus infection” or “bed rest.” Scheduled or not, illness robbed me of two weeks. So, I’m more than behind on my plans. Where are the checkmarks of all the tasks I should have accomplished by now? Where are all the clean rooms waiting for guests? Whew! Makes me exhausted to think of all the hustle and bustle of things to do. Before I have a relapse, I need to prop up my feet and sip a cup of hot chocolate, while I ponder a few memories to get into the holiday spirit.
Just before Christmas, Kara and Suzanne, my then four-year-old twins, picked out clothes from the dress-up box to enhance their imaginary play. Over Kara’s jeans and t-shirt, she donned a gray striped boy’s jacket and a pair of cowboy boots. In this outfit, she usually added a cowboy hat and pretended to be a cowboy named “Tan.” Sidekick Suzanne wore an ankle-length, blue prairie dress with a yellow scarf covering her long, blond hair. Kara, holding Suzanne’s hand and carrying a small, "going-to-grandma’s suitcase," announced, “We’re Mary and Joseph, and we’re going on a trip.” I wish I’d grabbed the camera. I can still see the vivid picture in my mind.
Another year, money was tight. Six kids. One income. You get the idea. Throughout the year, we gave our kids piano lessons, let them play on sports' teams and provided all we could. But that Christmas there was little leftover for gifts. We splurged on the two youngest boys, ages 2 and 4, with a Brio train table, which came with trains, track and accessories. (I only wish I’d gone to the Dollar Store so they had more than one box to unwrap.) Those boys are now 14 and 16 and we still have the train table, only it’s in their six-year-old brother’s room. Our four other children, who were 10-13, each received a book or game from an aunt and uncle. Their grandmother’s budget could afford only two Razor scooters—the rage that year. So they each got “half” a scooter. My husband and I gave them a trampoline with the big net enclosure, which couldn’t fit under the tree. Since we had so few gifts, we made a scavenger hunt to find the trampoline hidden in their daddy’s suburban. With the fun they had searching for clues, it didn't matter there were so few gifts.
My friend, who had a bigger Christmas budget and parents who lavished their grandkids, asked Kara what she got for Christmas. After Kara quickly named the few items, the friend asked if she’d had a good Christmas. “Oh, yes. It was great!”
1. Don’t worry so much about presents. The number of gifts doesn’t matter as much as the amount of time spent together as a family.
2. Don’t worry so much about your to-do list. Somehow, everything gets done. Or doesn’t get done. Sometimes, you’ve just gotta let things go. ;-)
Before rushing back to your own crazy agenda, think about your own stories. What are your favorite Christmas memories?
~ Roxanne Sherwood Gray