Monday, December 12, 2011

Bad Blogger

So, I've been a sucky blogger. My apologies. I have every intention of posting something and every month it gets away from me. Since this is December, and I recently posted a Thanksgiving tribute over at Three Wicked Writers (where I blog every Thursday), I thought maybe I should do a Christmas tribute here.

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas. I think that might make me a party-pooper, but here's the thing, I grew up overseas and Christmas was in the dead of summer. It's hard to get all festive, fire-crackle, nog drinking cheer when you're sweating. It just is. We still celebrated with a fake tree and lights. Mom still brought out the ornaments and dad cued up the Christmas music. Mom and every youth group I ever attended insisted on caroling (Have you ever tried caroling to people who have no idea what that tradition is or even speak your language??). If you know me, you know I can't sing my way out of a paper bag and was kicked out of choir as a child. You know, that age when everyone is "supposed" to be nice to you because your tiny and have a future of dreams filled with candy-apple promise? Yeah. Crushed. Although, I used to look like a little German boy complete with sweater vests and maybe they thought my alto was a bad mockery of tenor.

Anyway, I digress. My kids haven't grown up in a house that's decorated to the roof, but we do celebrate and they do have their favorites. We were talking about our favorite memories this week, and I found myself marveling that their fondest memories were things that would have shamed me if I didn't have them for perspective. Funny. I remember my mother saying the same thing about my memories.

So, I thought maybe I'd share my Tiny Tim story. Back a couple of years ago, we had nothing. I was the only parent employed and supporting the family on royalties. I had been for a couple of years at that point, as I paid the ex's way through seminary (He wasn't an ex at the time. I'm not that big of a boob to pay for an ex to go through four years of school.). That Christmas we didn't have a tree or ornaments. There were no lights and we didn't own a cd player or iPod or anything that spits out nifty music. We'd begun our move there a few months prior living off of tomatoes, zucchini, squash (I won't touch zucchini and squash to this day), cucumbers, bacon, and green beans. We had gardening neighbors with too much produce. Bless them. Anyway, there wasn't "extra" to buy supplies for a holiday that would last a week or so. We couldn't justify the expense.

That year, I went to the dollar store and bought a green padded table cloth and a red padded table cloth. My girls and I cut out the green one into the shape of a tree. We super glued it to the red one to create our Christmas wall tree. It was a little pathetic and we laughed at it, but having already gotten into the spirit, the girls and I cut out a star and snowflakes. We used a highlighter to color the star yellow and we attached it all to the tree.

A lady from our church had some old ornaments that we taped to the faux branches and when we hung the disaster on the wall over a table, that became our living room focal point. The four gift-boxes went on the table "beneath" the tree and we left it up all season. We couldn't spend the money on a turkey or ham and all the fixings, but we discovered that Chinese restaurants are always open on Christmas, so we had our Christmas meal at the local Wok.

Until recently, I counted that as my lowest family moment. My kids? It's their favorite. Hearing it from them amid the giggles of youth and the "remember how"s and the pleas that every Christmas result in a new International restaurant experience has changed my opinion. Sometimes we need kid-approved glasses to see how special a moment really is. We need to step out of our adult skin and take a look at it through a child's eyes, where different is exciting and all family moments are special if they're had together.

They teach me something new all the time. Here's to another Christmas of memories and praying that each of you make moments to cherish with your families this year.



Patricia Kiyono said...

Amen. Thank you for sharing some of your memories, even though they are probably painful for you. Be happy knowing they are good memories for your kids, because of the effort you put into them.

Mia Watts said...

@Patricia, Thank you. I think they'll become as precious to me as the memories are to the girls, because it means so much to them.

In all honesty, the best memories of my own youth were things my parents thought were incidental. I guess it's proof that elaborate plans can be dust in the wind, next to a picnic in the park with Mom. :)

T L Doezema said...

Thanks for that reminder Mia. I enjoyed reading your experiences and memories. Any international dinner plans this year?