it’s been a while since I wrote. Life has yet again caught up to me, but as the holidays approach, my mind is bubbling over with words and stories to share. It’s late, and I should be in bed, but today’s events have me wide awake and filled with emotions. I have to get it out of my head so I can rest this tired brain.
I occasionally see a free share/giveaway site on my facebook page. I try not to pay it much mind because I am already fighting the battle of “stuff” and have been on the kids to join me in said battle. In other words, I am trying to get rid of stuff, rather than bring more in. I saw a post the other day from a woman thanking people, because without their generosity in donating things, she would not have been able to provide her family with a proper Christnas. Now, I will say that while I believe the spirit of Christnas isn’t about stuff, my mom always went big at Christmas. Christmas was magical when I was a kid. My mom and dad did spoil me quite a bit, but my mom in particular went out of her way to add a magic feel about the season (when she wasn’t freaking out with stress over getting everything done….oh, I am SO my mother.)
The post got me thinking about how lucky we are I got a small bonus from work this year. It will allow me to pay a big bill that’s looming over us, and I was able to treat my husband and the kids to a few nice gifts. Out of it all, I purchased myself one book as a treat (Humans of NY Stories, because it’s beautiful and fascinating). That’s it. I said I would allow myself another treat for about $25 and call it a day. That would be my portion of a years’ worth of work of a bonus. I was thinking about this post, and how impressed I was with the simple “thank you”. It had me mulling over Christmas, both this year, and my Christmases of childhood. It was in that frame of mind when I saw another post pop up later that day. It was from a mother of two asking for help to find you donations because she had lost her job before the holidays. I felt the fear. I remembered losing my job and wondering what we would do. How would we manage? I was lucky to get a severance package when I was laid off. She didn’t seem to have the same benefit.
The kids and I found a toy or two, and I posted asking if she would like them. She said yes, gratefully, and we arranged a pickup day of today.
Feeling useful, I posted various other free toys to the site, and they were quickly claimed by people looking to add some extra toys at Christmas. All except 2 were going to come to pick the items up from my house the following day while I was at work, and it was supposed to rain. I carefully wrapped all of the toys in plastic, put the people’s names on them, and sealed the names in ziplock bags. Everyone except one person showed up. I messaged that one person and they never responded. I was irked about the no call, no show. I raced home tonight to pick up the toy to meet up with the woman who had lost her job. Feeling a bit disillusioned after the no show the day before from someone else, I messaged her to confirm she was still interested (she was) and that she still was going to meet me. She told me she couldn’t, and apologized profusely saying she had messaged those she was supposed to pick up things from but had somehow missed me. Turns out her car got towed.
Yep. It got towed because she was behind a ridiculously small amount on a car tax bill, and now she not only had the bill, but she had to pay for the car to get out of impound. As my son said “so if you can’t oh the bill, they make it more expensive and then make it impossible to get there to pay it?” I told y’all he is a smart kid. I mulled it over and offered to drive to her house about a half hour away. She seemed surprised I would do so, and said she felt bad about it, but I told her I was in the mood for a drive. Off we set, the kids and I.
When we arrived, she came outside and was so….nice. Just so nice! And I could tell she hadn’t really wanted to ask for help that way. I told her I understood, and that losing your job is scary enough. Losing your job when you have kids and it’s Christmas is heartbreaking. She was grateful for the toys and I explained I would look for more things for her. We were two moms, talking about love of our kids, loss of jobs, tough times, and trying to make magic for our kids in a scary world. She said the hardest part is that her oldest child wants the more expensive toys and she had tried to explain it might be tighter Christmas. Her daughter replied “it’s ok, that’s what Santa is for!” My heart cracked a little. I imagined how she must feel heating her daughter say that, and the stress she must feel to keep the magic of Santa alive a little longer. I reached into the car and handed her a gift card, explaining I had picked it up for a store that sold clothes and toys, so she could have something new to give them. Tears welled and she grabbed me and hugged me. Best $25 dollar gift I could have gotten for myself out of that bonus check was getting her that gift card and getting a hug in the street from a stranger.
I left her house, and I thanked the kids for donating their toys, and explained how the little boy would probably be very happy with them and love the toys as much as they had. We talked about kindness. About being helpers. I quoted Jewel and said “in the end, only kindness matters”.
After they were in bed. I spent a lot of time thinking about that mom. The holidays are a tough time for me as I miss my mom TERRIBLY at Christmas, probably more than any other time of year. It’s hard to grieve when you’re supposed to be happy and Christmassy. I thought about all the stresses I have, but at least I have a job and we scrape by. Sometimes we barely scrape by, but we do. I know the mom I met tonight is sad and scared and frustrated. I thought about what she had said about her daughter, about the big toy and her belief Santa would bring it to her. That’s what got me in the feels. What made big fat tears roll down my cheeks. That little girl believes in magic. And that should never be dulled. I looked up the toy. I know anyone who follows my Twitter will roll eyes or smirk when I say this, but I used my trusty Ebates and after working codes and cash back, saved over a third on it in the shopping cart. I decided to mull it over. After all, we are pretty strapped for cash ourselves.
My husband came home and we talked about our day. I told him the story. I cried through parts of it. (I cry at commercials these days, he’s used to it). I told him the whole part, right up until the fact I had looked up this toy. I wanted to see what he would say first. He’s the more cynical of the 2 of us, usually, but he will give the shirt off his back to help people. He grew up helping to run a homeless shelter, so people in need are always helped when he can.
“Well” he said, “I know we are strapped for cash and have a ton of bills…but maybe, just maybe we can get her that toy?”
This? This is why I love him so.
I explained I had already searched it and found coupon codes.
I said “you know, it could all be a bunch of BS, all of it, but if we do it, we do it with an open heart on our side and not worry about if it’s legit or not on the other side, right?” He agreed. He made a great point: “look, even if it’s all bogus, then probably things may not be thAt great for the kid regardless, right? So let’s help make magic for another child anyway.”
I’m ordering the item tomorrow.
Every child should believe in magic, and if I can help them believe, then I and my kick ass husband are going to.
A few years ago, someone told me I do nice things but I talk about them, so it was Like was trying to get recognition for them. Sometimes I talk about doing things for others, sometimes I don’t. When I do talk about them, it’s not to get recognition for them, it’s that I want to spur other people to do the same in doing an act of kindness, no matter how small. Yesterday there was a mass shooting in California. People went about their day and then didn’t come home. The Sandy Hook kids went to school a few years ago and didn’t make it out alive. Evil is alive and well. I can’t prevent all the evil from happening. I can only fight the evil with little acts of kindness, and try to inspire others to do the same. Love Wins, right?
I’ve tried to help people in the past and it has blown up in my face. I got disheartened and angry. My husband said it best when he told me that I needed to do the kind thing, with true intent, and if it wasn’t received well or he kindness was abused, to try to be kind anyway. I won’t lie, I benefit from it. It feels great to do nice things for others! It also feels like I am making magic in my mom’s memory. She would LOVE the little plan to help this mom give a little Christmas magic to her kids. It’s eased my grief a bit.
Well, I am off to bed. Tomorrow I will see how to get the toy to the family with some Santa magic to keep a little girl believing for one more year. Sorry for any typos. It’s late and I am sleepy. Plus I had to write this from my phone with my tired old eyes trying to see the screen.
Be kind. Happy holidays!