Sunday, December 28, 2008

It Was A Merry Christmas

Every now and then as a blogger, you confess something that you've never shared with anyone. I don't know if it is the comfort level one obtains with friends you rarely see or a desire to lighten your heart a bit, but nonetheless, we put into words feelings buried deep inside.

I have two confessions for you today.

My first confession is that I've never really been a merry-Christmas-type of person. I can count on one hand the number of Christmases that I thought were wonderful and happy. It started when I was a child. Christmas morning was always over-the-top wonderful, but they were often cut short by a mandatory plane ride to South Florida to see my father. I loved spending time with my biological father, but it always came with a price. As a teenager, it meant leaving my friends who were all getting together to show off the clothes Santa had brought or going to the mall to spend gift money. It was never 100% happy.

As I became an adult, the guilt shifted to me who had to choose every year, with which I'd spend the holidays. It was always a struggle and regardless of where I was, there was somewhere I wasn't. Children made it easier. I set a rule that my children would always wake up in their own house on Christmas morning and anyone who wanted to see my children had to come to us. This allowed my children all day to play with their new toys and try out every single gift.

Before you begin to feel sorry for me, let me declare my second confession. I actually had a wonderful Christmas this year. It might have been the best I can remember. I realized this great achievement while riding my bike down the beach on Christmas day. I was alone and recounting the activities of the morning, all the gift-giving and unwrapping. Motorists probably wondered why I was smiling so much. I tried to analyze what had been so great about this holiday. Why it stood out from so many others? The answer seemed to lie within my children.

Instead of spending my morning assembling toys and trying to unwrap Bratz dolls from those crazy wire ties, we were all able to focus on the joy of giving. I found so much happiness in watching my children exchange gifts with each other. They had put so much effort into each present. One teen gave another teen a bilge pump for his boat; another gave an Xbox Live card. Perhaps the best gift was from my 13-year-old son to his younger sister. She had asked for a talking parrot for two years and he finally bought it for her. You could tell that each child carefully selected just the right gift for his or her sibling.

They were giving gifts to each other, but in reality, they were giving me the greatest gift I could receive -- a Merry Christmas.

By Maria Bailey

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