Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's done, it's over.

**written at 12:01am 12/26/2006**

And I nearly didn't think I would make it.

I have a hard time with Christmas.

For many reasons, too many to name actually.

It makes me feel lonely. It always makes me feel sad.

Every year I think it will be different. I will sit back and enjoy my children enjoying the holiday - because it isn't about me afte rall.

And it isn't ...

I know that.

But yet the tender feelings of years long gone remain steadfast in my heart.

I do enjoy my children enjoying the day, the food, the fun, the reason for the season ...

But I know I am not alone in this one thought ... how can they all be so self centered? Is it just my children that tear through their carefully wrapped gifts, one after another, with complete abandon - not even recognizing what, who or how it is coming to them.

I mean there is the obligatory reading of the gift tag, the sweet tearing of the paper and the 'thank you' across the crowded room. But then each gift is swiftly set aside and the process continues.

We always try to do the gift opening in rounds; one person, one gift at a time. Each person reveling in the others treasures. Sometimes this works more easily than others ... toddlers don't do well waiting and when there area plethora of gifts, not to mention a vast number or participant ... well their ability to 'wait' is just no longer plausible.

This year I got my children each one gift. A gift I thought about long and hard. Something that wasn’t just wasted money, wasted energy … something that was unique to them personally. Again, a little more difficult with toddlers, but not as much with the older children.

I also asked friends and relatives not to go crazy on the gift giving thing … please, no more toys, stuffed animals or tiny plastic figurines. Buy them books, I said. They love them and will cherish them. Write a personal message, this will mean so much more than a toy that is sure to be tossed in a pile with glut of toys already littering our home.

I said it with a gentle voice … a request, rather than a demand. I said it knowing that I still cherish the few books I have retained from my tattered childhood. I no longer have any of the baby dolls or Barbie’s that I played with; certainly no stuffed animals or cute ceramic figurines.

My mother didn’t save those things, the few that there were … actually she didn’t save anything, but I think that is a separate post.

My issue; I want to save it all for my children, so that they will know how much they were love, how much they were thought of.

I am getting off course here, I know … but this is my space, my thoughts, my heart – so y’all get it in the order it comes to me. My apologies.

So, most people offering up gifts to my children observed my wishes; understood my desire to show my children the true spirit of the season.

Most …

Anyway, I so want them to know what Chistmas is and isn’t about.
I want them to appreciate why we are here and why we should be thankful.
I want them to know that they are loved for who they are, where they are.
I want them not to ask over and over and over ‘can I open another present?’
I don't want to hear them say 'is that It?'

I know that I am unrealistic. I know that my children (at least I hope so) aren’t so very different than any other child. They are well behaved (for the most part) caring and sensitive children. They have compassionate souls and understand the need for discipleship …

But still, when we sat down to supper, I asked them what they received today, what they were grateful and thankful for … and it was as if their minds completely forgot all of the gifts and blessing that had been bestowed on them in the past 24 hours.

They could name the most immediate gift, or the gift closest to them … but they couldn’t go much beyond that.

And here is kicker number 1, the things that they were grateful/thankful/appreciative of had nothing to do with God and all He has given them. The Lord Our Savior didn’t get mention.

Kicker number 2, the well thought out and labored upon gifts from their mother … yep no mention there either.

And now as I write that, I can’t help but ask myself if I am as self-centered as they are? I want them to know how hard I tried to pick the ‘right’ gift for each one of them … I want them to know that I spent actual time thinking about them individually so that I could express to them how very much they each mean to me. How much I would sacrifice for them.

Funny huh? I was hopeful that they would acknowledge me, and my sacrifices, my hard work … I want that for me … when they aren’t even able to give that to the King of Kings.

Yikes, who am I?

Maybe I am not capable of teaching them the things I want them to learn.
Maybe I want more of them than they are able to comprehend at this point. But darn it, I expect more of them … because they are so much better than I was.
And they have it so much better too.

Maybe they know that. Maybe they were just too overwhelmed by the day to give proper thanks. Maybe … maybe … maybe …

Or maybe I just want something that doesn’t happen. Or that is just too rare.

Or maybe it is just my past, my desire to do things so completely differently (better) that they were done in my childhood, which clouds my view of the whole thing.

I just know that it’s done. It’s over … 364 days until we try it all again.

Blessings my friends … many, many blessings. It’s late and I am going to go hug my sleeping baby.


The only real blind person at Christmas-time is he who has not Christmas in his heart. - Helen Keller

It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.- Church billboard in Kentucky

With light and joy pouring out of Heaven like water through a broken dam, [the angels] began to shout and sing the message that baby Jesus had been born. The world had a Savior! The angels called it "Good News," and it was. -Larry Libby

Simeon took him [Jesus] in his arms and praised God, saying: 'Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.' - Luke 2:28-32


Anonymous said...

They will one day be posting this very issue about your grandbabies. They have learned well from you and I am positive you will see that in a few years when they are a tad older. Their young hearts are just in a different place right now.
You are a beautiful example of what a mother should be!!!

Anonymous said...

My kids are like that too and I am not really sure what to do about it. I figure that it is a stage in their lives and that they are victims of todays hysterical comercialism.

It sounds like you are a good mom that has her priorities right:-)

TTQ said...

This year marked another child turned teen in just a year. I knew this, so her gifts were carefully selcted, wrapped and I thought she would be so excited. Yet she was anti-social hanging out with her older "bad egg" cousin. Not a thank you, not a hello, from either. My husband had tried to prepare me for the heartbreak. It was expected that the older one would act just as she has for a few years now, why did I bother when she has failed to acknowledge the past gifts I had given her. My answer, It's the right thing to do: maybe she's changed (yes, from last week), plus you can't single one child out.
Okay so two among many could be counted as blessing. It could have been all the children.
My biggest gift? My husband came home from work today and said I want to talk to you about something. Uh oh, I think. Did I leave the gas on the stove again? No, you were wonderful this Holiday Season, I know how much time you put into the gifts you give my family. But Honey, I shop all year, it's not a big deal. I know you think that, and that's why your special. And that is why he is special, because it wasn't about the gifts really.

Frannie Farmer said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I can't tell you how much your comments mean to me.
Mack, I think I am doing the right thing, but their actions consistently make me question myself.
Trish & TTQ, I am grateful to read that mine aren't the only ones making these seemingly rapid changes.
Mr. Farmer said the same thing to me TTQ. He told me how proud he was that I had done so much with so little...I needed to hear that too!
I am so blessed to have you all as friends!

Swishy said...

I think those are all totally natural feelings. For such a happy time of year, Christmas can be hard, too, for a lot of reasons.

kim said...

My children can still be caught up in the getting, but as they've gotten older (11,8, and 5)they are just as enthusiastic about the giving. They love picking out presents and can't wait to give them.

be patient, no lesson is completely mastered with children. It takes constant reinforcement.

And the religion-as we watched my oldest play Joseph in the Nativity play Christmas Eve, my 5 yr old acted like she had no idea that Christmas was about Jesus.

prunella jones said...

Awww they are just kids, Fran. Kids are naturally self absorbed. They will get more grateful as they get older (don't expect much during those teen years tho) Just sit back and laugh at the Xmas frenzy. It's only once a year.

queenb2u said...

Geez Frannie, if you read my post, you'll find that I was depressed too. We all get such high expectations at this time of year. In a time of joy, we see greed, hatred, and multitudes of joylessness. I think you did a great job with your kids. Don't worry, your love and caring will show up,from your children, when you least expect it. Just think about what it would be like if you did't do all of that loving Mom stuff, then you would feel guilty- with good reason. So, take care of yourself. You are important and you did the right things!

Frannie Farmer said...

Swishy ~ I know it is natural .. I think, like most parents, I hope that my kids will be the exception. Yea, sorta nuts huh?
Kim ~ yea, they were all good with giving. I know that they are gratedul (somewhere wayyyy deep down). I really am just suprised at how expectant they all are. I shouldn't be, but I am.
Pru - I got it comin' and goin' baby. Toddlers, tweens, teens ... we are at every stage right now and it is NOT fun. Memorable, yep - but not fun.
QB2U - I read your post .. we are on the same page. :) thank you!!!!!