Thursday, December 8, 2011
Where is my Christmas Spirit- 2011 edition
The unique thing about having a blog for years is you occasionally get the chance to look back in time at something you thought or felt years before and answer long-ago you.
Or in this case, 2009-me.
In 2009, the economy had first started it's downward spiral and I wrote a blog because I was searching for the true meaning of Christmas or some other drivel. (See the whole very meaningful blog here... I think my favorite line was, "The constant desire for newer, bigger, better, faster is not what Christmas was supposed to be about and my inner Charlie Brown is screaming and tearing out his three little hairs in frustration.")
Well, it is 2011 and things haven't gotten any better. Money still sucks. I haven't won the lottery or hit the NYTimes Bestsellers list or had any long lost relatives (who happened to be so rich that Scrooge McDuck envied his swimming pool of money ) die and leave me their sole heir...
And my kids are still very centered on getting newer, faster and shinier. They are still fine (clothes on their backs, toys in their toy boxes far nicer than anything I dreamed of as a kid, places they have seen ones that I would have loved to see, etc) but still their lists for Santa had things I can't dream of getting them (Kindles are not something Santa will be bringing the kids. They all asked for them. However... Santa will NOT be bringing three kindles. Santa would love to however Santa can't this year.) and I am not upset by that.
It doesn't bother me like it did in 2009.
My perspective is different now.
Back then I was working my butt off and the kids spent huge chunks of time in daycare. I had to sometimes work two (even three at one point) jobs just to stay afloat.
We have streamlined. We have cut corners. Things I thought we couldn't do without, we do without. All in all, I have learned to live on a tiny, infinitesimal budget and get the bills paid so that I don't have to be gone all the time.
Are things easier and do I not worry about money? Pssht. I wish. Someday maybe. But I have learned that money will probably always be a concern (single mom of three kids... Unless something changes a LOT, money will ALWAYS be a concern) so stressing out about it doesn't make it better. I don't have a magic wand I can wave to make the money issues vanish...
But I don't care. We have a roof over our head that fits us and our lives. We have food. We have the things that make us happy. Do we have everything we want? No. And we shouldn't.
But we do pretty good, considering.
And we are together. This was the priceless something that 2009 me couldn't have. The 2009 me could see no way out of working that many hours. 2011 me has found loopholes that allow for me to be home (and work from here) so I get to be with my kids.
For me, that is peace.
So this year, putting up the tree was something squashed between a Christmas party for one of the companies I work for online, working on Algebra homework for college, playing with my nephews who were over visiting and having all four (yes, the 'adopted' kid was over this year, too) kids work on it. I mostly pinged around in chaos. Busy. Laughing.
The joy I searched for and hoped I would find years ago... I found it. It is in being with my friends and family... Being HOME with them. It wasn't solved with commercialism (knew that it wouldn't be) but in the joy of BEING there.
In 2009, I thought this dream unattainable. I found it.
We don't have a lot of money. We won't be backpacking in Europe this summer. I may never get to have my passport stamped.
But I have this time... This moment with three of the most awesome kids in the world.
Where is my Christmas spirit? Not in a tree. Not in a box wrapped in shiny paper. Not in the glittering snow covering the world like a blanket.
My Christmas spirit is in the belly laugh of a ten year old, free and joyous. My spirit is in the cockeyed smile of an almost fifteen year old girl, so eagerly trying to become a woman. My spirit is in the quiet smile of my twelve year old son as he comes over and wraps me in the worlds best bear hug.
And someday, they will look back on this Christmas and not remember it was the year they got their kindles (Because they AREN'T getting kindles.) but instead as the year that mom was home. The year that we drove each other nuts. The year that we went to grammies and made cookies and played in the snow.
And that is a damn fine accomplishment, if you ask me.
at 11:18 AM