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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Monday, December 11

My Son Gave Christmas Back To Me

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My Son Clayton Gave Me Back My Christmas…

For a few years now, I’ve really been a scrooge. We’ve traveled the last few Christmases, and my family is so far away in Texas. My children (now at 23 & 17) are so old, that the tree really didn’t matter, just the food and the presents (not to them, but how maybe I perceived it). We have been so busy trying to build a new company (first one, then two, and now three), that I’ve lost sight of what it is all about.

This year, I was feeling even more impeded by the pressures of “getting it all done”. My husband is a typical macho type busy guy, and cannot be bothered with some details. He will tell me what he wants to give others, what he’d like to have for dinner, he’s generous, but he DOESN’T PARTICIPATE IN HANDLING ANY DETAIL…just sits back and watches it all come together…and then tells me how wonderful it was. Granted, that’s nice, but I have become to be bitter about that aspect, when maybe I should worry about the real meaning, and let the other fall where it might fall. I sometimes forget after eight years how wonderful my husband is. I forget that through all of our problems, he's done so much for me and our family. I am too quick sometimes to nag, and too slow to praise and appreciate. Before it even really started this year, the Christmas season was bearing down on me. I recognized that as a problem that was not indicative of “how I was raised”, and began to think of how that could change. I don’t want to lose my sight of Christmas. I don’t want to stray away from the way I was raised where the birth of Christ, Family, Love, and Giving is the true focus of Christmas.

My oldest son is dating a wonderful woman who has a nine year old daughter. She is a really good kid, and has big brown eyes, long eyelashes, and a giggle that would drop any mother to her knees. I thought that maybe it was a child that was missing from my Christmas. I called my son and asked if the little girl would like to help me decorate my Christmas tree. He said she would love it, and we made a date. I thought the kids would drop her off and we would play. As it turned out, he called the day of the date, and they were all coming over, and my youngest son would be home too.

WONDERFUL! But…now I wanted to have dinner for everyone after work, and accomplish the tree too. I left work, and went to the store, and came home just barely before everyone arrived. While I was cooking dinner, the kids and the new “granddaughter” began to rifle through my ornament collection. I’ve been buying gold plated ornaments from Danbury Mint since 2000 at the millennium. Since I haven’t put up a tree in several years, there were many boxes that were unopened. I let J. open them, and watched her giggle as each new box gave way to a different gold filigree miracle of art.

Then, I began to watch into the living room as I was in the kitchen cooking, and I saw my 23 and 17 year old sons, along with the new “daughter-in-law” laugh and enjoy the ornaments, along with J.

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The pets got involved, and we found fun stuff to put on them and take photos. The kitty Poof found a stocking that he claimed as his own. Our dog Reno donned her “Reindeer Hat”.

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The wonderful ornaments with incredible detail portrayed images of Christ and the REAL meaning of Christmas, and we all commented on those things. It just became a real evening of joy and family togetherness. I don’t think I’ve had such a wonderful evening in some time.

We had a wonderful dinner of two flavors of pork loin, cheesy mashed potatoes, broccoli & cheese, and buttery corn.

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I realized that in my photos, it shows that I’m a bit of a clutter monster, and I don’t have a home that looks like a magazine house, but I couldn’t be more pleased with what I have. I do have a home, and my children and my love for all my family, immediate or acquired…blood or by marriage, whether here, or abroad, or whether together or away from each other, these are the reasons we have Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, and remember Joseph and Mary as one of the original families, and love and give. I remember that even outside Christmas I still see the North Star, and I remember the Wise Men and the adoration they gave the baby Jesus. I remember that Saint Nicholas was a patron saint that gave gifts to the poor and began the tradition of Santa Claus. I remember the wonderful menorahs and the beautiful people that celebrate Kwanza.

During my “perfect Mommy night”, others sat sometimes, some didn’t do a whole lot; I got so busy with dinner and making that all come together, it REALLY BECAME CLAYTON that kept the whole tree decorating project on course. He really came through for me, and through some frustration and us all getting tired and being up late, and him away from his home, he made my night so special. I even have to admit that I might have been able to pull dinner together sooner than I did, but I was so filled with a joy that I’ve missed for a while watching all of them that I just embraced the moment and watched. It was too beautiful and watching my grown men sons loving the moment made that slack more than I could resist.

I’ve already purchased Miss J’s present, and I wanted to have it wrapped and ready for her to find. The night prior, another friend called needing to talk, and we went out, and had fun, and again…I misplaced my duty to be on a schedule for this night. My newest girlfriend in my intimate family life came over with my son and her daughter and went into another room and just jumped right in. She shared with me that she LOVES wrapping gifts, and that is one of her favorite things of Christmas. I couldn’t have been more blessed, as that allowed me to give the child a wrapped present, and explain to her (as I think a Grandmother would) that the “most special person” gets to have the first present under the finished Christmas tree. Once again, I got to see those little brown eyes sparkle, and hear her giggle. She was happy, and as my late Mama Ann always said…, “Today I am blessed, for today I got to hear a child laugh”.

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I remembered my saved keepsake...the Santa Claus MY MOTHER gave me when I was TWO. This is a 42 year old Santa doll. However, all the Christmases I had, this doll sat under our tree.

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I remembered that one year of 20 I was a casino dealer...one September, I purchased a magical Santa, or Saint of Italy during the Italian Festival. I brought him out and once again hung him up. More memories, more joy.

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I wasn’t using my normal camera, as with many of my failings, I left MY camera at the office. I had my husband’s camera, (which I've used maybe twice, he and my youngest make it work like a charm :) and the settings weren’t quite right, as the photos in this post weren’t all as good as I would like, but they were MY photos. These are very personal photos that shed light on my personal life and home (which I don’t share too much of on this blog), but this night was too wonderful not to share. I love my family, and loved this night more than some over a few years. Clayton Robbie, thank you for giving me my Christmas back.

To my father, brother, and sisters...to my natural mother, my incredible step-mother, and half sisters and half brother I've never met...to my wonderful in-laws that live closer, but still not around the block...I love you all. Day to day life takes us away from those thoughts, and I'm thankful that I am trying to bring those thoughts more prevalent each day than those "normal" thoughts and pressures I have begun to call "important".

PS: If this night wasn’t enough, while driving to work the next day…I was enjoying my drive and thinking it all over again, and my cell phone rang. Out of the clear blue, a friend of more than 10 years, (one I hired and had to fire at my company almost a year ago…) called to say…”I know K is out of town, and you have a big company party in two days…can I help…my day is free today”…I couldn’t believe it. It was like Christ Himself was trying to thump me on my head and bring back to me what I know to be true. My son gave me Christmas back, but my friends continue to help, and my Lord finds a way even in today’s 2006 attitude to show me that Christmas is a SPIRIT. Hope, Faith, & Love…and the greatest of these is love. CR…I LOVE YOU! Thank you for giving Mom her Christmas back!

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