First, a joy to share. I submitted a story to a couple of moms who wanted to put together a book. The purpose of the project was two-fold. Their lives and families have been touched by autism – both have sons with special needs. So, they wanted to raise funds for their Special Education PTA in the area where they live. I just happen to (quietly) follow the blog of one of these authors, which is how I found out about the book. Second, one of them has a daughter who is at the age when she’s learning what it means to fit in … or not fit in, at school. Do you remember your pre-teen and teenage years, trying to fit in? Good golly, I do! This books helps address the differences of people – at a level that is appropriate for everyone from pre-teens to adults. We DO fit in. Really. We do!
I’ve already placed the order for my books – one for our family and one for the school library in the school that my daughters attend. Can I Sit With You is a collection of blog stories by authors from all over, edited by Shannon Des Roches Rosa and Jennifer Byde Myers. If you have children who are just trying to fit in, this book would be an excellent gift for them this holiday season!
On to the Christmas Countdown!
I am reminiscing about the final Christmas I had with my family – I find it’s always good for the soul to find the shining stars and joys of our past. Dad was in the hospital three hours away, from which he would never leave alive. He had suffered cerebral aneurysms, which eventually killed him. Mom had moved us from a southwestern Iowa farm, back up to Fort Dodge, Iowa – which was my hometown and closer to relatives. If I remember right, one of my aunts actually owned the farm where we lived. We lived in the old farm house and Aunt Ellen and her son Mat, lived in a trailer home on the property. I wasn’t really aware of adult issues when I was 10 so I only remember bits and pieces … and what others in the family have told me. I know that Aunt Ellen gave Mom the trailer she had lived in and they moved it to a trailer park in Fort Dodge for us to live in. Aunt Ellen moved to Des Moines. They had a big sale at our farm, which must have produced some extra money for Mom – because she went nuts buying Christmas gifts for us in 1975.
I also remember it was the first year that I questioned the impossibility of the mysterious Santa Clause!
I truly don’t remember what we received as gifts, but I do remember how HUGE the present piles were under the tree. The brightly colored wrapping paper. The ribbons that twinkled with the Christmas lights. Of course, with five children in a family, there were usually big piles. But, those were usually clothes and stuff that weren’t fun to get as kids. But wow, in 1975, you could barely see our tree for the piles and piles of presents! And most of them were toys!
Our Christmas tradition had always been that we had chili (with beans, which makes my southern husband turn green because real Texas chili doesn’t have beans) for our Christmas Eve dinner. After the dishes were done, we’d set out in the car … spending an hour or two driving around and looking at Christmas lights. And usually, upon our return, Santa would have arrived! On this night, since it was just my mom, we all ate Christmas Eve chili and then bundled ourselves up she sent us out the door … us kids walked the trailer park, looking at all of the Christmas lights that adorned the homes of our neighbors. And, lo and behold, upon our return, Santa had come!
The joy in our house that night was amazing. I still feel it, every year when my own kids see that Santa came to visit.
Thoughts for this Christmas Countdown day: Help find joy this Christmas season. Whether it’s with a special homemade touch, with sharing your blessings with others or with singing a joyful noise. Know that your joy reaches everyone around you … and that feeling never goes away from memory.