Friday, December 6, 2019

Christmas Memory


I can imagine you all have Christmas memories.
Were they joyful memories filled with sugarplums and family?
When I was in junior high my little family of my mom, sister, and I
were given to a family through the welfare system to bring us gifts.
The day arrived and my mom made sure our little house was neat, tidy
and that we were neat and tidy too. This was important to my mom.
I had bargained with the tree lot guy to buy a tree with my babysitting money
and carried it home. It was a huge pine tree that he said no one wanted.
We made paper chains and decorated it with our meager ornaments.
Our home looked quite festive.
We waited.
The family arrived.
I think the parents were trying to teach their children about poor people.
The children remarked that our house looked better than theirs.
The parents were a bit miffed that we didn't look poor.
 They said as much.
They didn't notice that we had a chair propping up the refrigerator
door, so it wouldn't fall to the floor.
They didn't notice that my mother had her bed in the dining room,
because she made it look like a place to sit with pillows during the day.
They didn't notice the moldy cheese we got from surplus government surplus.
They didn't notice that though our clothes were clean and ironed
they were hand me downs.
They didn't notice that sometimes our church had to help us out
with a food basket or pay our power bill.
Maybe they noticed there was no father in the house, but
they didn't know he didn't send us support.
Needless to say, it taught me some lessons.
Never take what you see as fact, you don't know the story.
Don't look down and criticize those that have less than you.
Show love to each and every person around you.
And when giving give with an open heart,
give a little extra.
After all people that are poor still like a bar of chocolate
or a pretty bouquet.
The pictures are my only childhood Christmas pictures.
They just didn't take many pictures then.
They are from an earlier Christmas with it's own memories.
I am the one with the bow in my hair, the oldest girl grandchild.
My sister is the other one with a bow in her hair.
Yes, my mother always tried her best to keep us looking good.
The others are special cousins.

Give with a happy, loving heart.
Give the gift of JOY. 
Happy weekend, dear friends!

9 comments:

Jone said...

Wow, this is so poignant. Our church always reminds those taking boxes that what we see may not be how it actually is (as they people who said those things to your mom).
Thank you for sharing this deeply personal memory.

Jeanie said...

Marilyn, this is one of the most beautiful posts I've ever read. It's so touching and it says such wonderful things about your mother and your family. A valuable lesson to learn as a child, one that really stuck with you. It's called self respect, I think. It's truly beautiful.

Marianne said...

This is such an important reminder to not make assumptions, to give with an open heart, and to always honor and respect the dignity of those in need. Thanks you for sharing such a poignant story of your life.

Robin Cooper-Wood said...

Marilyn,
This post absolutely is amazing and really touched my heart and emotions. So many important lessons can be learned in this writing. Your Mom sounds like an incredible woman and her strength helped shape you. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

Unknown said...

Many of us growing up did not have much.
God bless us all
Love Jeanne

Merry Christmas

Thelma said...

Such a touching post. I can relate to your story Marilyn. I grew up in a large poor family and we didn't have much.
It's so true what you said "Never look down and criticize other who have less than you" I can certainly relate to that.
It has made us stronger, and we are willing and ready to help and share and give and feel good about it.
Having compassion and empathy for others.
Have a great week. Thelma.

Lorrie said...

Such a well-written post to remind us all not to judge by appearances. Your mother sounds like a wonderful person.

Merisi Vienna said...

"Don't look down and criticize those that have less than you."
It seems that some people simply have no empathy.
Your mom must have been a very strong woman, and you a very good sweet child.
Many blessings to you,
Merisi

Dina Roberts said...

Hi!

I love this post. It's so important to be reminded of these things! And it's something I was thinking about just the other day, but instead of poverty it was in terms of invisible (or less visible) disabilities. I was thinking about how we might judge an "able-bodied" person for not giving up their seat on transportation and how that person might not be as healthy as they seem. They might have balance issues, fatigue, dizziness, etc.

I also thought about how we might judge someone for staring at someone in a wheelchair or at someone with a visible disability. But maybe they're NOT gawking. Maybe they're watching and wondering...trying to learn, because they've just been diagnosed with something and they're trying to understand what's in store for them.

I wonder about the family that visited you and what they were thinking and experiencing. They too were probably judged unfairly at times. It's so easy to make assumptions about people's lives and what they might be thinking and feeling.