Our family has been through a lot this year. We finally got to meet our Plum, there were doctors using the word Autism when speaking about our boy, there was elation that came with hearing "not autism" after a grueling testing process and I'll admit a little chuckle at the realization that my kid was just different (in a "coolest kid on the block" kind of way), learning how to help Mr.Pants to get the sensory input and speech therapy he needs, a bee attack (I mean, REALLY?), the pain that rose up when Daddy put his first baby girl on a plane back to California and on and on. All of this led to a year ending accumulated ball of stress that became very hard to manage for both Daddy and I. This year has been filled with so many joys and sorrows. But looking back, I see that the joys were bigger. And the joys made the sorrows bearable. Even still, it took a bit for my Christmas spirit to show up. And if you know me, then you know I usually have the Christmas spirit somewhere between mid October and mid November so this was bit out of character for me.
So how did I find it?
I found it because a few weeks ago, a friend I have never met in person sent some Muppet dolls to me. Just because. When I was little, Santa always topped our stockings with a special stuffed doll or animal. Those Muppets will be sitting atop the stockings of my kids this year.
I found it because the gifts that my kids will get from us are from the Goodwill. The Goodwill is as good a place as any to spend the little extra money we do have. Maybe even a better place than most. When I made the decision this year to stay home and raise these crazy kids, I knew full well that our belts were going to be tight for a bit. Maybe even a little tighter than tight. Daddy and I considered all of the possabilities and decided that it was the best decision for our family. But without my salary, Christmas would be different this year. A Goodwill Christmas. It turned out that the goodwill came in more ways than one.
I found it because our Christmas dinner is being pieced together little by little by my whole family. And they are coming to my house Christmas day. And I am so excited. Because I just love that merry band of crazy people.
I found it because Grandma Pants knows Santa Claus personally and collects things all year long. Preparing for the big day. Being sure that even though the money is tight, there will be gifts under the tree that sparkle and shine. Because my mom lives for that kind of moment. The one where kids see the tree and presents all together for the first time. That moment of pure childhood perfection.
I found it because when life gets hard, I am surrounded by the love of my friends, my church and my family. And I can feel it.
I found my Christmas spirit when it occured to me Wednesday night watching Daddy tiptoe with those presents, that he is ok. He's had a rough month and on top of everything, he has been a little down about the state of our Christmas pocketbook. While he knows that our kids are little enough to not expect anything this Christmas, it pained him still that we didn't have the means to buy them a special gift. So, those three presents he hid in my closet? His work had set up a secret santa exchange and his sous chef drew Daddy's name. His gift to Daddy was a big ole Tonka truck for Mr. Pants. And it didn't stop there. Two other friends from work handed Daddy a wrapped up gift for Ms. Plum. And his boss gave him a stack of new books all wrapped up for both of our littles to share. I wish I had seen his face. My guess is that his coworkers and friends didn't see how much this touched his heart. It may seem like no big deal. But it is a big deal. To us. No fanfare, no expectation of glory (or a blog post). Just good old goodwill.
I found my Christmas spirit because I have always known that people are good. And that people care. But this year, I saw it manifested in so many many ways. Like people helping a friend and coworker give a little something special to his babies for Christmas. That's awesome sauce.
I found it by watching Ms. Plum roll around covered in tinsel under her first Christmas tree.
I found it because everyday Mr. Pants and I sing all the tunes from Emmet Otter's Jug Band Christmas while he pretends to play the kazoo. And he believes that Ma Otter is his grandma. So awesome.
So from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you. To all of you. Thanks for coming along and reading about this little family of mine. Thank you to those who have supported us throughout this mixed up and emotional year. I have big dreams for 2012. Big big dreams.
Merry Merry Christmas everyone!
Love, Mama Pants