Posted by Liz D.
When I received my paycheck last week, I set aside $200 to buy
Christmas gifts for my three kids. This has been a rough year for
us as I adapted to life as a single parent and our new financial
reality set in. So that money made the difference between a tree
with very little under it and one with at least a few brightly
wrapped packages for my kids.
Then Saturday at 4 a.m. I awoke because I was freezing. A quick
trip down to the basement revealed there was no life in my furnace.
The repairman I begged to make a Saturday visit charged extra for
the weekend service call, only to tell me the parts had to be
ordered on Monday. Almost $500 and two days later, I now have heat,
but my Christmas fund is bust.
Oh, I know the sayings about how Christmas is in your heart and
family is what matters, and I've certainly explained to my youngest
daughter Grace, 11, that this has been a tough year. But still she
hopes. Every day she reminds me of the days, hours and even
minutes, until Christmas morning. And every day I am reminded of
all I cannot provide my children.
This week has also been a challenging week for my sister. She
went to the hospital for a minor heart procedure that went awry and
left her struggling for each breath-her road to healing and
recovery stretches ahead for months. While her children are older
than mine, they are still experiencing a holiday season where
it is hard to find joy. Suddenly the fact that I cannot fill the
Christmas tree skirt with toys and games becomes a minor issue. If
the gifts aren't all we have wished for, we really do still have
each other. My sister's flagging spirits rose when my parents and
another sister flew to be at her bedside.
Family, my children, my parents and my siblings, really is
what matters as we all come together this holiday season. We will
try, in the midst of tough circumstances, to do as Grace is doing,
to count down the days and minutes to Christmas, and to
recovery, and to look within to find the joy. There is always
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