The Two Dollar Christmas Gift
I was commenting on a dear friend’s post tonight and suddenly a few happy tears fell. Remembering C…
I was commenting on a dear friend’s post tonight and suddenly a few happy tears fell. Remembering Christmas‘s long ago when children squealed with delight. Hands clapping wildly and smiles from ear to ear.
We learned about baby Jesus in Sunday School but if I am honest, it was more exciting to wake up on Christmas morning. Mom and Dad were the best Mr. and Mrs. Santa Clause all around. We didn’t get hoards of gifts but what we got is exactly what we told Santa we wanted.
Each Christmas was like that until the year I got married. When Christmas morning came there was no one to celebrate it with first thing in the morning. Although I had my husband, it was different.
I still could not wait to go to Mom and Dad’s on Christmas Eve. Every year it remained the same at my parents. Christmas Eve was an unspoken saved time where we knew we were going there for dinner, treats, and gifts.
Spending the time with my entire family back in those days was a true joy. What a gift it would be today if I could have a peek and relive just one of those wonderful years. Both of my parents are deceased. My half-sister has pretty much disowned me. So it is definitely not the same now, but I do celebrate with my children and grandchildren.
New traditions to try out and add to many years to come. New memories are added but deep, deep within my heart is that little void and those silent tears for what once was.
My Dad had a little thing he would do for us three kids every year. He would wait until all the gifts were opened and then he would rise from his chair look at me and smile and slowly walk a way going to his bedroom.
When he returned he would have three brown paper lunch bag sacks. In each sack was a giant Hershey chocolate candy bar and a two liter bottle of coke. He would grin from ear to ear as he handed it to me.
My dad got a big kick out of Christmas. Of the entire year, this was the only time he truly enjoyed shopping. He didn’t care or he didn’t voice it what he got in return. I remember I used to buy him long john underwear a lot. Dad worked for the County Highway. He drove a truck and during the winter plowing, sometimes he would get stuck outside more than inside the truck.
But for me, I will be thinking this year about Christmas. It will only be Al and me sitting here, but my thoughts will be looking up to heaven and seeing Dad smiling down at me holding that brown paper lunch bag sack. He will be handing me my chocolate bar and coke. But this time I will not just say thank-you Daddy. I will jump up and wrap my arms around him so tight and squeeze him crying out how much I miss him and how much I still love him.
My Daddy, my hero of my world died six years ago Dec.1. I love you Daddy. I can’t wait to see you again. We will share that candy bar and that big coke. Hugs, your daughter, Terry.
This is my Daddy when I was caring for him while he was dying from Leukemia and Myaloma. I am the blonde next to him with my head tilted.
I have been baking for the past three days. I took many breaks because of my bad back. I
made lots of goodies. I even managed to sweep the main part of the house, dust and sweep.
I have listened to the Christmas country station in the background the past four days. I never did tire of it. It was like I wanted to squeeze my heart around the words, because I know the day after tomorrow it will be gone for yet another year.
Joy to the world. We live in a world that we can live in joy if we choose to. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to have that freedom? Silent night, this is what it is tonight, as I slow down my activities and let the rest wait until tomorrow.
For as long as I can remember, my family and I have always gone to my parents home on Christmas Eve. Tonight, I sit here alone. Don’t worry, tomorrow will be full of hustle and bustle, but tonight I am pondering over my past life.
We would drive slowly out to mom and dad’s house. It would always be cold and icy. It never feared as they lived way out in the country and the roads were nasty in the winter. We would rush in the front door. Never needed to knock or be let in. It was home.
Mom would be in her pretty red lacy apron. She would be stressed out by the look on her face, but always managed to say hi with a big smile. Dad would be sitting in the living room in his recliner watching some wood shop program. My brother Al would be in his bedroom, sitting quietly with the television on but turned down low. Al was always on guard for arguments or his dad raising his voice. This made Al very nervous, so he was always quiet as a mouse.
I don’t remember back to when my half-sister still lived at home but I do remember many times when she would enter late. Supper on hold, mom in tears, dad yelling at sister for upsetting mom. This would start the movie scenes that were not always pretty. Sister and dad always argued. Dad wanted J. to grow up and do things for herself and mom babied her. Today, you can tell that mom got her way. J. can’t be independent, or doesn’t want to.
Anyways, there was mom and dad, plus Al. When we arrived , we brought our three cutie pies. J. brought her three kids also. So it was a nice size for the dinner table. Mom would make date cookies every year. She also made fudge, iced sugar cookies. She always made a chocolate pie whether it was Christmas or a birthday. This was my dad‘s favorite.
She would have the same menu year after year. She made home-made lasagna with garlic bread. We came to love and depend on it. After dinner was eaten and cleared, all the kiddies would run to the living room where the lit tree was sparkling. They would get just as close to the presents without getting told to scoot back. Dad would yell out to Mom and me,”Are you done with those dishes yet”? It makes me smile just thinking back on those days.
We would make our way to the living room and mom always played Santa Clause. The kiddies always got mainly clothes, and a toy or two. I don’t remember what Al and J got, but my then hubby and I would get a gift together and some smaller individual ones. The last gift I remember was a gas grill. After all the wrapping papers were tossed all over the floor, dad would go to his room and come out with this huge smile. In a brown lunch bag would be a giant chocolate Hershey bar and a two liter of diet coke. He would go purchase each of us three kids this each year. He just loved doing this for us. Actually, this was the best present ever each year. To see dad smile handing his treasures to us.
One funny thing I have to tell you is Mom forgot stuff. She bought gifts all through the year, and she would hide them in the closet and then find one of them after Christmas was over. The next year she would drag it out, and yet leave another gift hidden in the closet from this years shopping. We could always count on it.
The year mom passed away, there was no Christmas not even with dad. Christmas spirits and joy just died in the house, he missed mom so much. He just wasn’t interested. He would come to my house and give me a card with money in it. I would see tears in his eyes and then he would disappear in to the darkness returning to his home. As I was saying the year mom died, dad not only brought me a card he brought me an unopened box of pots and pans. He said mom had bought it earlier and it was to be a Christmas gift. I still have them after 12 years have passed. I can not let them go. They are used and a few scratches, but they are worth more to me than any dollar.
Now tonight I glance at my own grown children. Spending time not at my parents home, but in their own homes with their children. They are building memories so they can go back in time some day when I am up in heaven with mom and dad. Life is an unbroken circle. You live, love and laugh and build memories. Hopefully you lived a good enough life that you can do what I am doing now. Spending Christmas Eve alone, not with my parents, but in my mind and heart they are very close.
Merry Christmas mom and dad. I love you and can’t wait to see you again. As for Al? I can’t wait until tomorrow. He is coming HOME to spend Christmas with me. I get a whole day with him! Tomorrow will be my mother in me. Hustling and bustling without the apron. I will have a dish towel on my shoulder instead. I will be stressed somewhat, because I am not used to these family gatherings. I have to admit, the noise will get to me. New memories will be built tomorrow and at the end of the day after everyone is gone, and Al is back in his new home, I will lay on my bed and smile up at mom and dad, and ask, “Did I do a good job? Did I do it just like you mom? I love you both”.
She was lost. A mother of five, alone at 85, her home now in the Butler Nursing Home. She had been placed there five years ago by her children.
Their reason for placement was she was getting old, and they did not have time to keep coming over and checking in on her. They had their careers, and their kids who were in sports, and dance, and they just felt it better to place her so they did not have to worry about her not eating, or maybe falling and no one would know immediately.
Sometimes on a Sunday, she would get a visit from a church member or the minister would stop by, and once a week, one of her kids would call her and talk to her for about five minutes.
She had been a hard-working woman in her younger days. She raised her five kids, pretty much alone. Her husband had been killed in the war, and although she received benefits from his death, times were tough, and she took in ironing from the city folk, and she cleaned the church building.
It didn’t give her much money, but she managed to put food on the table and to keep her kids clothed and in school. One time the school needed someone to clean the main part and they couldn’t find anyone qualified, but due to the need to want to buy Christmas gifts, the head master gave her a chance to do this,when she came to him offering him her services, so each year, about three weeks before Christmas, this mother would go in and clean, for the Christmas pageant, which helped her buy gifts for her kids.
She could not afford much, but was able to buy each child a doll for the girls and trucks for the two boys. She sewed stockings and made hand-made soaps, pieces of chocolates, some cookies. She would stuff their stockings on Christmas Eve.
Now, here it was, Christmas Eve, and she felt lost. She had wandered outside to the court-yard of the facility, and she was trying to go home. Home to where her little kids were waiting for her, waiting to be read their bed time story, waiting for their Christmas gifts the next morning, crying because they did not know where mama was. She was alone, alone on Christmas Eve, and the following day brought no brighter hope.
1. Do you think the adult children made the right decision by placing their mama, and if so why, or why not?
2. How do you feel about the idea that the adult children did not actually visit their mama?
What could you suggest, that would make this mama’s life a little less lonely?