Merry Christmas? Not always

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 aholiday 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 parentsand 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 hope.

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