Aewl’s Abode recently asked the question, what if you could relive one day in your life. I’ve thought of little else since then. With so many days to choose from, how do I pick just one? This morning, as happens every year at this time, my mind was taken back to one particular Christmas years ago. A day that could not end soon enough for me.
That year my new husband and I had moved our family to another state. We wanted a fresh start close to my beloved mountains and in a city where our children would have a range of educational opportunities. My husband Jim was assured employment within a particular agency, so off we went. We were all so excited. When finally I saw my mountains again I cried, knowing I’d finally come ‘home’. What a wonderful life our family would share.
Within days of our arrival our happy bubble burst with a bang. My husband’s job offer had fallen though. We both took two meager jobs, barely making enough to pay rent and put food on the table. Oh how we grew sick of hamburger helper and whatever we could pour over rice. Thankfully, we never went to bed hungry. Grossed out maybe, but not hungry.
Christmas’s past were most always happy occasions for my children. Gifts under the tree, a visit from Santa, a special dinner prepared with love for my family. Their gifts were rarely expensive or name brand items, but the kids seldom wanted for much and never complained.
Our first Christmas was a sad affair indeed. What little money we could spend was divided between four children (ages 10, 13, 15, 17) and Christmas dinner. No rice would be on the menu this day! The kids came downstairs, cheerfully greeting us with a “Merry Christmas!” and I fell apart. Quietly. In the bathroom. They had no clue. Under the tree four small wrapped gifts awaited them. One for each. Something inexpensive and practical, a piece of clothing most likely. I don’t remember.
When handed their gifts, each one smiled and said, “Thank you”. Each one opened their gift slowly, with happy anticipation at what lay hidden inside. Not one smile faltered when they withdrew their simple gift. Each one of them acted as though theirs was the best gift ever. We were showered with sweet ‘Thank you’s!’ and ‘I love you’s!’ Again, I hid in the bathroom and cried. Later we shared a lovely Christmas dinner with almost all the fixings and the day wound down to night. Finally I could put this depressing day behind me.
Why, one might ask, would you want to relive such a sad day? I do relive that Christmas, every year. And every year I am reminded of the precious gift I received that day. I was given a glimpse of the amazing adults our children would one day become. They would be strong, honest, loving, humble, compassionate. They would never take life for granted and always be thankful for even the smallest of things in their lives.
They are all grown now and each one of them posses the qualities shown to me that Christmas day, and then some. They are all my ‘babies’ and they are beautiful.