I remember what Christmas used to mean when my kids were little.
It meant staying up late to wrap gifts and hide them under the tree while Santa ate all the cookies. It felt like we barely hit our pillows before the kids were awake and ready to demolish our hard work. My husband so couldn't hang with me. See, my picture was next to the word "insomnia" on wiki. I was used to waking up with our son every hour or so for the first 6 years of his life that I could be up and ready to take on a 10hr day at the snap of a finger...or at the gentle tug of my blanket ;-)
Now that the kids are 14 and 15, it's a little different. First and foremost, the kid that used to wake up constantly? Now sleeps like a rock. Second, our daughter is kinda over the baking-cookies-Christmas-Eve thing, which my husband is sad about. Third? We went through a complete financial collapse a handful of years ago. It's really only been the past 6-8 months or so that we've gotten to our feet. Christmas has been provided by my family, our church family, friends, and neighbors. Not just Christmas, but the occasional groceries, gift cards for gas in our cars so we could get back and forth to work, random gifts of things like movie passes, tickets to hockey games, and invitations to stay at friends' vacation homes for free so that we could take our kids away overnight...all blessings that others have provided out of their love for us and the incredible goodness of their hearts.
So this morning, as my daughter and I got up to share some breakfast, we couldn't help but feel that familiar chill in the air of our house. The difference this year? Is that I turned up the thermostat and the heater came on. And the oil tank is full of oil that we were able to purchase.
The opening of gifts? No, not this year. Because when I asked my kids if there was anything they wanted, they looked around with that searching sort of expression, then shook their heads. My son, the talker of the two, asked, "is it weird that I feel very...I don't know...content?" He just wanted others to have gifts in lieu of whatever we would have gotten for him. My daughter is equally content. She decided to bake cookies for her friends and knit random pieces out of yarn that she found in her room. She's calling them 'scarves', but they're probably only long enough to fit guinea pigs. No matter. As she knits, she smiles. She doesn't even realize it...
To us, Christmas is an every day kind of experience. But we couldn't have felt it in the way we do today without the times of trial. Kind of like how ms has made me value and appreciate my abilities in a way I never did before. I think it's safe to say that most people get up and drink their coffee without understanding what a blessing it is to...taste it. For me, I never know if I'll actually taste it until I try it. If I can't, which has been my story much of this month, it's just warm liquid. But today? I can. And my goodness is it delicious :-)
If anyone needs scarves for their guinea pigs, let me know. They're really quite beautiful.