Yesterday morning I walked the kids into school so that I could also drop off the toys we were donating to the Toys for Tots drive. Hands full of backpacks and toys and lunches the kids dragged me over to look at all the school's decorations. I tried to fake my enthusiasm. After the last few crazy days my Christmas spirit was seriously waning.
"Mom! The tree still has a few stars on it! Can we go get one?" Ben asked pointing to the giving tree.
This year, as every year, the school adopted a few families from our area that are especially in need this time of year. Each star on the tree represents a gift for each member of those families. Sometimes it is an item the family member needs (grocery store gift cards) and other items are fun presents. The star features the gender and age of the family member and what they are wishing for. It is humbling to see little kids asking for hats and gloves, or leggings. Puts a lump in my throat how much we take for granted.
"Let's see what is left on the tree." I answered.
The kids and I marched up the steps and looked at the almost bare tree. With only a day or two left to donate there were less than half a dozen stars on the tree. We glanced at the stars together. An 8 year old boy asked for a bible. Love that. I took that star off the tree.
"Mom! This one is for the mom and no one has taken it. Everyone is getting stuff for the kids, but what if this mom doesn't get anything? Can we PLEASE get it? Please? What if she doesn't get anything???" Joey said, thick with emotion.
I looked at the star. The mother (of 5) was asking for a bedding set (colors of gray, white, and yellow). Oh dear. Must have been one of the more expensive things on the tree. I imagined the mom hesitating to even ask for it, but was probably prodded to write it down anyway by the volunteers taking the requests.
"Oh boy. That is a big item, Joey. And those colors are going to be pretty hard to find in the one day we have left to shop for it." I told him gently.
"PLEASE, mom. Moms work so hard and they don't ask for stuff much. What if she doesn't get anything for Christmas?" he begged as my other three children began to join in the pleading.
"Well, I'll go to the store and see what I can find, okay? Let's leave the star on the tree for now." I answered trying to usher him into his classroom without giving him a definite answer.
Joey nodded and I quickly got the littles to their respective classrooms, dropped off the toys in the Toys for Tots bin, handed in the our coins collected for the folks at the retirement home (they are always running short on coins for their card games), and jumped back in my car.
My first stop was Walmart. I scanned the aisles for a nice bedding set in gray, white, and yellow. None to be found. Nothing even close.
"Oh well. I tried." I told myself. I'm off the hook.
But on my way home I couldn't get Joey's pleas out of my mind. What if the mom didn't get anything? This woman has five children. A nice bedding set is not too much to ask. It nagged me and nagged me.
When I got home I jumped on the computer. I scoured the websites for gray, white, and yellow bedding sets. I was so paranoid picking out such a personal item and I poured over each item. Too masculine? Too feminine? Too dark? Too wild? Too busy?
In the end it didn't matter if I liked them or not. None of the sets would get here in time. Right when I was about to give up I saw something on the Target website. I immediately called Target to see if they had it in stock. After being disconnected 4 times, and calling back 4 times, I finally discovered that they had it. I put it on hold so it wouldn't be sold before I could get there.
After the kids got home from school, and the homework was all done, I packed them up in the car and off to Target we went.
Unfortunately, when we finally got all the way over there I discovered that the "blanket" I had set aside was so thin it was almost like a sheet. It just wouldn't do. I was beginning to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
I dragged the kids back to the bedding department with me and we searched and searched for an acceptable replacement. Way in the back corner of the department was a gray, white, and yellow comforter. It was perfect. Not too feminine, not too masculine, not too wild, not too dark. It wasn't a bedding set (just a comforter and shams), but I found a matching bedskirt and gray sheets that went perfectly together.
"It's so soft, mom! And just the colors she asked for!" a thrilled Tommy said as he hugged me.
The kids and I happily made our way to the cashier.
The whole ride home the kids chatted about how they hoped the mom would like her gift. They talked about how Christmas is a time of giving and helping others as Jesus would want us to do. They reminded each other of the real meaning of Christmas and how the more you give the more you receive. They felt great.
After hearing "I want" from my kids more often than I would have liked these last few weeks, it sure was good to hear that they still get it. The focus of Christmas is in the right spot. They get what we have been trying to tell them all along.
They are kids, and they get caught up in the fun aspect of Christmas just like everyone else, but in the end they really know what it is all about.
Christmas spirit restored!
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli