Living in Houston, we don’t get the typical white Christmas, that you see on all the cards.
We usually have mornings that start out in the 40’s then warm up to the 60’s by mid day.
The stores all have the same cheery, bright, invitingly nauseating decorations that make people, like you and me, spend more money than we are comfortable with.
This year, Jenny and I have had several big bills hit us (car repairs, expenses with the pigs, new carpet, etc) that put us in a financial bind, so we’ve been more mindful of how much we spend.
Both of us have wasbands that have already nailed down their lists for the kids so with that and what we’ve purchased, they will definitely have a grand ole time this season.
Last night Jenny and I got online and ordered the gift we’ll be giving to Huey. She’s a senior in high school so we decided that we’d get her a class ring. It’s almost like a right of passage. And since her birthday is in January, we justified this expense by making it a dual purpose gift.
Seeing the kids “wish lists” made me remember when I was a kid. All the things I’d hope to see under the tree when I woke up on Christmas morning.
The differences between then and now have really amazed me. I can see my personal growth, simply by what it is that I want in my stocking.
When I was a child, I was like anyone else. I wanted to get a bike, toys, and anything that was “fun”. Being raised by a single mom, I got a few of those things, but my gifts tended to be more practical. Clothes, shoes, school supplies that had worn out and a new pair of glasses. (yea, I’ve been blind since about the third grade)
As I got older my tastes changed. I saw my friends in college getting things like cars, stereos, vacations and money. So of course, I wanted those things too.
Since my mom was still single and financially not as comfortable as my friends parents, what I got was less sparkly. She’d pay my car insurance for me, buy me pots and pans for my apartment, or just send a card with a little money inside. She knew her gifts weren’t nearly as grand as my classmates, so she always stuffed my packages with brownies, home made cinnamon rolls and pecan torts. (I hate pecan torts, btw, but she made then every year, so I knew I’d be getting a batch)
I was still grateful. My mom did what she could. And I was still happy to see that box when it arrived.
When I had my kids, Christmas shifted. It became about them. Barbies, doll clothes, crayons, and anything that came in a big box that they’d end up playing in.
My gifts were slippers, gift cards, VHS tapes, and other small things. I was still happy to see them and knew whoever had given them had done so because they thought I’d enjoy them.
Now that I’m all grown up (or so the law says I am), it’s still about the kids. But Jenny is a big part of that too.
Her, Shemp and the kids have all asked what I want, but the answer is drastically different than it’s ever been.
This year, I wish for all of us to be together. Under one roof at the same time.
Shemp was here for thanksgiving, but this year he’ll spend Christmas with his new girlfriend and the girls in Louisiana. Jenny’s kids are supposed to be here Christmas day, but Christmas eve they’ll be at her family’s (yes, they are still being a pack of douche bags and not allowing her to be a part of things) and her wasband will get to spend time with them sporadically throughout the holiday.
The only constant for me will be her. And that’s a pretty good deal, by itself, but I will miss having them all here.
Maybe I’m feeling this way because it’s my first Christmas without my mom. It’s also a time when Jenny should be with her family, but they’ve decided that she’s not worth their time and attention because she finally decided to stop hiding us.
It’s also the first Christmas I won’t have my girls.
We’ll make the most of it, though. We’ll have food and presents. The tree’s are up and Jenny is planning to make all of us assemble our own gingerbread houses.
I guess if there were snow on the ground and a chill in the air it might make this season harder for me. Because I’d have that constant reminder that this year will be different.
But, even though it’ll be different, it’ll be great. Jenny will make sure of that.