Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Present(s)

If you missed Christmas Past, you may want to start there. It's always nice to earn the happy ending.


I really looked for a Christmas song video, but none seemed to fit the mood. Since this is more than a Christmas story, but a story about family, I liked the feel of this song. My husband and I have 9 ethnicities between the two of us, and the only one we have in common is Irish. There's no actual video in this though, you can play it (or not) while you read.

Well, on to a Christmas Story.

The year we bought our home, my daughter was four and my son was one. That first Christmas Eve my husband had to work and I was home alone with the children. The baby went to sleep early, so my daughter and I had some special one on one time. On the second floor, outside our master bedroom, was a lanai (balcony) that we have since enclosed. That year my daughter and I sat on the dark lanai, looking out at the stars and sipping hot chocolate. She tingled with joy and excitement and her energy was infectious. Suddenly, she looked in the sky and said, “Mama LOOK! It’s Rudolf. I can see his red nose.”

As I cast my eyes upward, a saw a tiny red dot of light in the night sky. For a brief second that felt like an eternity, I would not have been surprised to see Santa, sleigh, reindeers, and all, come ripping past my house with a “ho, ho, ho!” It was only a moment later that I realized the red dot was a light on the top of a tower. But that did not change my moment. For the first time in over 25 years I experienced that sense of magic and wonder and believing in miracles. I was overcome with the feelings of an innocent child who believes and for a brief moment, I was the child I had been. I realized why adults like to be around children at Christmas. They help us become innocent and see the magic.

When my husband got home from work we took immense pleasure playing Santa together. Although we had bought a home, we had no money left over for furniture and the first two years the entire downstairs was like a gigantic playroom. A TV. A kids’ futon couch. Two bar stools and a high chair. For Christmas, we were giving our son one of those plastic basketball hoops (his second word was B-ball) and we played one on one rounds while we filled the stockings. I believe alcohol might have been involved, probably. We had our fun. The next morning, after opening maybe two presents, daughter felt sick and wanted to lie down. She had a 24 hour stomach flu bug. I spent the rest of the day cleaning up vomit and getting her to the toilet. Running soda crackers and 7-up upstairs. A few hours later the 18th month old baby boy got sick. The presents never got opened. My husband went off to work and when he got home at midnight he found me praying to the porcelain god. About two hours later it hit him too. The next morning, the day after Christmas, my husband and I slept in a little bit – like probably 7 or 8, and when we woke up and came downstairs, we found two toddlers in a sea of wrapping paper. They had woken up, came downstairs, and finished Christmas without us. They had moved through the dining and living rooms as the wrapping paper storm took over. I can’t believe I don’t have pictures of this. We were so wiped out from having the flu all night that we just let it be. We sipped tea on the couch and shook our heads at the mess and eventually combed through it to make sure no small present got thrown away.

My husband and I have tried to give our children the childhoods we wished we had. Nothing that special there. That is what most parents do. We may falter, but I believe that most of us have the best of intentions. Christmas is a bit of a balancing act. The gift giving so commercialized and trying to enjoy the gift of giving to your kids without turning them into greedy little grabbers.

The smiles.


We have created our own Christmas rituals. Christmas cookie baking and delivery to neighbors and friends. Candlelit services on Christmas Eve. Special meals. There were our first five years here, when my husband’s grandmother lived with us. She had so much joy in seeing her great grandchildren on Christmas morning.
My mom has come out for several Christmases. She can still be a bit of a handful. But making her a part of our Christmases always added something special. Giving the gift of forgiveness ranks high on my Christmas list. When my mom visits, I work extra hard before she arrives so that when she is here it is all the fun stuff. She has spent several Christmases with us here in Hawaii and sharing it with her has always deepened the joy. When she leaves, I forget the stress of one of her fits she may have thrown and try to only remember the smile on her face when she watches her grandchildren emptying their stockings.
As my children grow up, I hope that their Christmases remain a time where giving means more than buying presents. Where family togetherness is meaningful. Where the magic of love knows no bounds.

Oh yeah. This is my 100th post. Random grateful Christmas list for my 100th post.

52 Christmases gifted with life (thank-you mom and dad)
23 Christmases with my husband (19 of them married)
19 Christmases being parents
3 Christmases as a cancer survivor
2 kinds of friends now, friends in the flesh and my new blog-world friends
One big heart full of hope for peace, and a better tomorrow
May your Christmas be filled with the joy of love and family. With the miracles of rainbows.
Happy Holidays from me and border collie.

26 comments:

only a movie said...

I love this. Is that your mom on the left? If so, she sort of looks like my mom.

I love your list of 100 too.
Happy Christmas, Pseudo.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Happy Christmas Movie. My mom is on the left and husband's Grandmother is on the right. They had a couple shared Christmases here.

Queen Bee said...

I think it's wonderful that after everything your mother still makes it out for Christmas. I know a lot of people don't have the heart to do that.

Merry Christmas!!!

Debbie said...

Happy 100th! What a great day to celebrate it. I loved the background story and especially the part about seeing Rudolph with you daughter. Have a great Christmas. I'm so happy I have gotten to know you this year.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Queen Bee - I firmly believe you gotta take the good with the bad, especially when it comes to families. Merry christmas!

debbie - right back at you. love your blog and so glad to be sharing a bloggy Christmas.

flurrious said...

It's always nice to get happy endings when we're still in the middle. Merry Christmas!

Kristan said...

Aw, what a lovely post. :)

Congrats on all the milestones, and WOW what a shot of BC!

Happy holidays!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

flurrious - My so must be rubbing off on me, because my mind is reading your comment lik a 13 year old boy hehehehe. thank-you and Merry Christmas right back at you!

Kristan - that shot ws yesterday, in between a bit of rain.

Anna Lefler said...

I love, love, love this post! For so many reasons...

I think it may be my favorite Christmas post I've read, as a matter of fact.

Thank for all of it.

Merry Christmas and here's to a happy, healthy and peaceful 2009.

Hugs all around!

XO

Anna

Jack said...

Happy 100th! Thanks for sharing this with us... Wishing you A wonderful holiday to you and your family :)

Kathy said...

Congrats on 100! Love the Rudolph story :)
Merry Christmas, my internet friend!

derfina said...

Congrats on your 100th and here's to hundreds more! Merry Christmas!

Sunny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunny said...

Wishing you peace, love and joy!

Merry Christmas!

Laura said...

Thanks for writing and living from the heart. Wishing you many more rainbow Christmases.

starrlife said...

Merry Christmas Psuedo... and peace and happiness to you and your family through out the next year!

smiles4u said...

Once again you have touched me with your words. I can relate to your past on so many levels. Giving the gift of forgiveness is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give someone. You giving that gift says a lot about you my friend.
I love reading of how you and your husband have made your own traditions...made your own way with your children. Because I understand it all too well, I read this and see how truly extrodinary all of this is. I can appreciate all the work that you have done inside your heart to get to this point in your life.

Congratulations on 100 posts...you already know this, but I'll say it again...I love your blog and reading your thoughts. You are one amazing woman and I am so thankful to have found you.

Hope your after Christmas days are not too hectic!

Robin said...

Happy Christmas, Happy 100th, and here's to happy memories, especially the Rudolph one.

Mama Dawg said...

Merry Christmas.

Thanks for sharing a bit of your past with us.

I'm so glad to see that there are people out there that can forgive. Makes me hopeful for the world.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Anna - what an awesome compliment. Thank-you!

Jack, Kathy, derfina, Laura and starrlife - Happy Holidays to you too and thank-you.

smiles - you are so sincere and alwys speak from your heart.

robin - my daughter's imagination was infectious. she's still a lot of fun at 19.

mama - I strongly believe holding grudges and ill will is worse for the person with the bad feelings, even more so than the person they have ill will towards. and well, shit, she is my mom.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Congrats on your 100th Pseudo and Happy Christmas! And with my favourite Billy Connoly (have you read his biographies? Talk about survival - they're inspiring). Wishing you and yours every happiness - if every parent in the world wished better for their own children than they had themselves what a great world we could make x

thistle said...

This is a lovely, true meaning-of-Christmas post...congratulations on the 100th post and acknowledging the really important things in life in your 100 list.

I also had trouble finding a Christmas tune to use, some were too morose and others a little too raucous, especially if i tried to find one with dergs...so opted for the new cut from Faith...hard to go wrong with a great voice...
And i'm starting to think you may have been scottish in another life, between the BC and the pipes in your Christmas tune, even the word veri (hastriag) seems a bit Celtic or Gaelic in origin...

Hope the rest of your Christmas break is as lovely as can be :)

ps ...i was actually hoping you WERE going to say you saw the Santa and the sleigh following the pinprick of red light cos i think i may still be a bit of a believer, even tho my head says no....

The Chatty Barista said...

Congrats on your 100th post! I have 5.. haha, just started in the blogging world. I enjoyed this post and look forward to reading many more. Happy Holidays!

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

kate- I just discovered Billy Connoly. I was searching for the Crowded House version of the song, then fell forthis one. Happy Holidays to you and yours as well.

thistle - i am irish, scottish, english and german, with a rumored bit of Sioux. I relate mostly to the first three though. And yeah, I really did htink for a minute I might see the sleigh that night.

Also, i loved your Faith Hill song. It was the first itme I heard it. And you get uncanny word veris.

barista- welcome. I'll be over to check you out.

Just B said...

Congratulations on the 100th post--a very worthy blog if there ever was one.

I know those moments, so brief when they happen but remain with us so tangible we can hold them in our hands once in awhile, savoring the moment. I have a few of those with my daughters. I really loved the image of you and your daughter on the lanai. I could totally picture it!

Forgiveness is an extraordinary gift.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

ah, b. write them down when you can. I'm pretty sure there are moments that I don't remember that I wish I had. afew ntoes would help these days.