It’s been quite a while since I’ve written. There are times when life takes over and writer’s block is more than a nuisance. In the spirit of Christmas I feel that I should share a bit of what has been on my mind this season. Since I can remember I never really got a whole lot for Christmas. My mom somehow managed to get all four of us bikes for Christmas one year along with other gifts and to this day I’m amazed by how she made that happen for us as a single parent. As a parent myself now with just three kids to buy gifts for I’m even more baffled. As I have gone through life I have become a person that gets joy from giving to others and making things happen the way my mom made things happen for us. I like to receive gifts as well, don’t get me wrong, but I get the most joy out of what I can for others.
About the time my oldest son was 4 years old I began to teach him the importance of giving, thinking, and doing for others. Each year we go in his room and I help him pick out toys that have been gently used through the year. I do not believe in giving items that are worn down and need to be in the trash. That defeats the purpose. At first he wasn’t the happiest about this arrangement but now at age nine he comes to me and tells me what he wants to give. It makes him happy to see other kids happy. We’ve discussed the fact that some kid’s Christmas (and life in general) may not be as blessed as his. They may get as many things, or even worse, nothing at all. There are some kids sending letters to Santa that will not be fulfilled. Although he doesn’t fully understand all the ins and outs of this, his heart for giving is exceedingly large and I am so proud of him.
I am not the parent that piles gifts on top of gifts for my kids and I don’t expect others to get him tons of things either. I get my oldest to make a list and I try my best to get his top three things while his father and others that love him work on the other things. This is actually the first year he hasn’t had a list, he had no idea what he wanted. I love to get things for my kids and I love to see them happy on Christmas. My joy comes from seeing others happy and I hope to impart that same feeling to my kids. This year my kids got three to four gifts each. I feel like as a parent my job is to raise men that value the important things in life, not to raise men that are materialistic and forget the importance of what life is really about. I want to raise men that live to make the world a better place. As a mother, my greatest happiness will come from seeing my children grow and thrive as kind, humble, caring, giving adults.
I’ve worked in long-term care for years and it has really made me so thankful for the little things. This time of year my patients and other residents seem to go through such sadness. They miss the years past, children trimming the tree, cooking and baking, they missed their spouses that have passed and often times they wonder why their kids seem to have forgotten them. Our lives get busy and we focus on self. We focus on what needs to be done, what needs to be bought, and what has to be wrapped. We forget about the joy, being present, and doing for others. I would encourage you this year to reach out to others harder than you ever have. Find a way to give. Find a way to be present. Find a way to remember those that taught you what the season was about. It is not about you, but about WE. And if this year has taught you nothing else, may it teach you to never take it for granted again.