A Christmas Present

I’m sitting in Barnes and Noble watching all of the people crowded around the “Nook” counter. I still haven’t converted. I still love going to the library and picking out that book from the shelf of new arrivals – maybe I’ll like it – maybe I won’t!

The girl sitting next to me has some kind of contraption attached to the back of her nook that holds it at the correct angle for reading; however, she just can’t seem to get it right. First it’s up, then it’s down. She has moved her chair a couple of times to see if that would help, but I don’t think it has!

Christmas shopping is done. I bought a bunch of gift cards for friends and family. I think I have come to a point in my life when Christmas has become just another day to me. For years, before I was medicated, Christmas was just horrible for me – the anxiety of the shopping and wrapping and cooking and decorating turned me into a real bitch by Christmas day. My kids dreaded it and me. Once again, thanks to Effexor, I can make it through December without collapsing into a sobbing heap covered in tinsel and fruit cake.

Mom and Dad who are both in their 80’s struggled to put up their tree last week and quickly realized they couldn’t do it. Mom said Dad was so upset because his hands were shaking so badly. Instead of asking for help from us, they took the parts down that they had assembled and packed it all back into the tattered, cardboard box.

My mom told me this right before we left for VA and I remembered it as soon as we got back to PA. She said they were just going to go without a tree this year.
I don’t think so! My mother is the Christmas queen! Having grown up in an orphanage, the Christmas tree has always been a symbol of family to her. She reminisces about walking down the street when she was in high school and still living at the orphanage and glancing into the windows of the huge mansions along the way. She would gaze at the beautiful trees and decorations and hope that one day she could have the same thing.

So you know there was no way in hell I was going to let her go without a tree!

Several years ago, I bought a beautiful, completely decorated 3 foot tree with lights and garland at the local craft fair. With all the construction going on, I planned to use that this year, but instead I brought it up to Mom and Dad yesterday for their place. They were thrilled. Mom has called me three times to tell me how much she loves it and that it brightens up their apartment.

I didn’t realize it when I was schlepping it up to their little apartment, but that, my friends, is the spirit of Christmas. I brought some happiness to my mom who was feeling very old and maybe a little scared.

And that is my Christmas gift to myself.


About JJ

β€œ"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.'” William Butler Yeats
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6 Responses to A Christmas Present

  1. Robin says:

    You did a wonderful and loving thing for your parents. In Judaism it’s described as “mitzvah” (see definition below). Your parents are blessed having you for a daughter. Your account brings my heart joy. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    *The primary meaning of the Hebrew word mitzvah (“commandment”). The secondary meaning of Hebrew mitzvah, as with English “commandment,” refers to a moral deed performed as a religious duty. As such, the term mitzvah has also come to express an act of human kindness. The tertiary meaning of mitzvah also refers to the fulfillment of a mitzvah.

  2. poolagirl says:

    That is a truly lovely story. You rock, woman!

  3. I think that may just be the sweetest family Christmas story I’ve ever heard. Good for you and good for your parents.

  4. LL Cool Joe says:

    My parents are in their 80’s too, and my mum said that this was the last year they’d be having a Christmas tree. It’s very sad to see our parents getting older and not being able to do the things they used to do.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. πŸ™‚

  5. Bex says:

    A truly inspiring story about your parents and the tree. I also have a little 3′ already decorated (by me) tree that I whip out of a garbage bag each year. The decorations get fewer and fewer each year as they fall off and break when I’m setting it up, and I don’t replace them. There are 3 small strings of lights on it – multi-coloured lights – and now one of those strings is out. But I like the little thing and it’s easy-peasy to set up and take down. And easy, at our ages, is what it’s all about now. Good for you for being an angel for your parents.

  6. Carol says:

    What a sweet gift!

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