Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tis' the Season for Giving

Yeah, ok, I'm back, sooner than expected, because I just can't shut my brain off and this is a great outlet. And...I want to talk about something. The Holidays, but not in that 100% this is great, look what I got, etc, etc, sort of way. I'll warn you...this could be a tearjerker.

It's Christmas, 2006 and my roommate, who is a Psychologist, has 2 families, both single mothers, one has 5 kids, the other has 4 kids. The one with 5 kids is a little better off than the one with 4 kids. Before I continue, I can't divulge names, because a)I don't have their names and b)my roommate cannot break this confidentiality. But I can assure you that these people are real, as there are some things you just have faith in.

Anyway...my roommate has decided to create a Christmas for these families. Let me give you a little background. These are just families that are down on their luck or families where Christmas will be a little "tight" this year, the mom with 4 kids, yeah, they sit on the floor to eat, on sheets. The mom with 5 kids, the 15 year old is an accelerated, early acceptance and holds a job at a supermarket to pay for high-speed internet on a second hand computer because he and his sister (who's in a magnet program) need it for school. This mom, when asked what she wanted for Christmas said "towels", yeah bath towels. All of these kids have seen more cornmeal for dinner than I will see in my entire life, because it's affordable for them. These moms depend on the school to feed the children for breakfast and lunch, so that only dinner is eaten at home, on sheets, on the floor, for one family.

Yes, the moms have jobs, but you try raising a family of 4 or 5 on one, paltry salary and maybe some of you have, so I'm not knocking anyone. They do not qualify for welfare or any "luxuries" that many can qualify for. Welcome to the LAND OF OPPORTUNITY and desperate times call for desperate measures.

Between my roommates, me, 2 of my friends, several of my roommates collegues and some good friends, we managed to pull together enough money to give the kids what they asked for on their Xmas lists. No small feat, they're kids, they desire to fit in, they desire to be like their peers, knowing...deep down...they are not like their peers. As a former teacher, that's TOUGH to watch happen. Besides, YOU tell a 5 year old, she can't HAVE a Cabbage Patch Kid. But, we managed to do it, in a short week, more like a weekend and then bought food for the families.

One friend donated a table and 4 chairs, someone else gave a TV and a DVD player, items we take for granted. I can't imagine having to sit on a floor to eat because you don't have the option of a table. Oh nevermind about their beds, mattresses on the floor, maybe that will be my next project.

This was also a time to see who you could count on and who you couldn't count on. Eye-opening really and that's all I'll say about that.

But then...my roommate shared something, no names, again, confidentiality, that one of the moms asked about Life Insurance (this was after she worked for 3 days and didn't get paid for the job because her boss deemed that she "didn't work hard enough), Life Insurance, just in case something happens to her. This woman had planned to take her own life, so that the life insurance policy would pay out to her kids. She had to be told that that's not the way it works, that her children would be separated, because NO ONE would adopt 4 kids all together. This mom had no idea and was desperately trying to do what she thought was right. I still can't wrap my head around that.

But why am I telling you this? Not to bring you down, but to remind you, that even in the darkest days, even when someone steals your thunder, rains on your parade or pisses in your cornflakes, things are not that bad.

So go. Go hug your children, tell someone you love them and be grateful for what you have and for having opportunities to make your lives better. Because life as you know it, can be just a table and chairs away.


Blogger ~Deb said...

Great advice!

Happy holidays!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Dr. Krista said...

I have heard stories like this... not just the "down on your luck", but the way people pull together to help. YOU COULD count on ME ~ this is my heart too. I would help anyone in need... Heck, I've been there myself and was blessed by the kindness of others...how could I NOT do the same?

7:29 AM  

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