Yay! Christmas Week has arrived! Christmas Day is fastly approaching *woo hoo* and there’s lots to look forward to here on Book Chick City. So sit back with a glass of mulled wine and a delicious mince pie and enjoy!
When I was young, Christmas was one of my favorite holidays. My mother’s side of the family’s Jewish, but my father’s side’s Christian, so we celebrated Christmas. All of my Christmas memories have a golden glow and magical feel. They’re the best and brightest memories of my childhood. The house was full of laughter and fun. Every year my parents invited people to join our families celebration, who would otherwise spend the holidays alone (One time I recall it being a homeless man, may have been more than once though). I always thought it was a nice thing they did, but I never considered how much it may have meant to those people until many years later.
At the end of 1999, I got separated from my children’s father and shortly there after my parents moved away. By summer 2000 the divorce was final. At 23, I became a single mother of two (ages 6 & 2). The decision to end the marriage had been mine, but it was still a hard time, especially with my parents gone. I’d been with their father for eight years and had never been completely on my own. My eldest had a harder time of it than her younger sister. The eldest was Daddy’s girl; while lil’est was Mama’s girl, rarely leaving my side.
At Christmas, I did my best to make golden memories for my girls. To the best of my ability I stuck with the traditions they were accustom to and tried to compensate for the difficult year we’d had.
My Fairy God Mother, Roey had us over for Christmas Eve dinner. (I call her that because she always popped up right when I needed her and I don’t know how I’d have gotten through without her. She’s one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known.) We had a terrific time and the girls even got a call from Santa while we were there. Then I stayed up most of the night wrapping presents and preparing for Christmas morning.
My Ex and I agreed to an arrangement to alternated years; one of us had them for Christmas Eve and morning – the other had them the rest of the day. I thought I was prepared and strong enough. I had no idea how wrong I was.
After we opened presents on Christmas morning it was time to take them to their Father. As soon as we got there my eldest dove out of the car and went running into the house yelling “Merry Christmas, Daddy.” My little one however, began crying and holding onto her car seat buckle. When I finally got her out of the car she wrapped her arms around my neck and sobbed, “Mommy don’t leave me.” My heart shattered and it took all I had to walk into that house. Her Father came over and I tried to hand her over. She started screaming “No want Daddy! Stay with Mommy!” I blinked back tears and promised her I’d be back soon.
We finally got her to let go and I practically ran out the door with tears streaming down my face. Just as I reached the car she came running out hysterically screaming, “Mommy, no leave! I go with Mommy!” He ran out and dragged my crying, screaming baby back into the house. I thought my heart was permanently broke.
I was driving back home still sobbing and feeling lost, when my cell rang. It was my friend, Christy calling to ask how it’d gone. Telling her about it I got so upset, I had to pull off to the side of the road. She begged me to come to her mother’s house and spend the day with her family. I just wanted to go home and cry until it didn’t hurt anymore, but her mother got on the phone and told me that if I didn’t head straight over they would come to my apartment and drag me out. So I turned the car around and headed there.
When I pulled up to the house her entire family came out. Christy opened my car door and dove half in, hugging me and crying with me, for a while. Then every single person in her family also gave me a hug. I felt so loved. Inside the house I was put to work helping cook, to get my mind off of it. After a time, my heavy heart began to lighten. It ended up being a good day with great food and even better company.
It was the hardest Christmas of my life, but the love and caring of both Roey and Christy’s families helped me get through it. They took me into their homes and hearts. It is still hard to think about that morning, but thanks to my wonderful friends, who were there when I needed them most – it is also a cherished memory. I am eternally grateful to them and their families. They showed the true spirit of the season, on Christmas 2000. Its the best gift I’ve ever been given and I hope to someday be able to pass that gift on to someone else.
This holiday season, if you know someone with nowhere else to go or who’s having a hard time, invite them over. Give them the irreplaceable gift of friendship, caring and love. You may just be saving them the way my parents did for a different person every year and my friends did for me. There is no better gift you can give. Believe me – I know.