What a week.
Today I'll finish my last proofread of the big scary paper I've been writing lately that has now reached over 40 pages (and it should be under 30 but let's not discuss it and let's also hope my professor doesn't notice because GEEZ I can't take anything out and still have the rest make sense). I'll write my cards and send them out (if you're reading this and are expecting a card from me, it's coming. It'll get there after Christmas I'm sure. My bad). I'll mail off a couple of packages with gifts and such, I'll pick up one more gift for a very difficult person to shop for, and I'll be officially DONE.
That'll feel some kinda nice, lemme tell you.
So this is Christmas week. When I was little we didn't do Christmas or birthdays - it was against the religion of the time, you see. To me, because of the financial difficulty my family was entrenched in during most of my life, that meant no presents. About ever.
I remember playing with a piece of a Barbie I'd found buried in the yard. I'm not kidding. It was a leg and I was intrigued with the way the knee would slightly bend in two clicks, and I fantasized about what it would be like to have an entire actual Barbie of my own to play with.
That may seem a little heavy to y'all, but it's the case. I don't often talk about those types of things on my blog because I want it to be a place where you can come to get a couple of happy-life tips and leave refreshed. That means that, usually, I don't talk about real issues (real = painful). But I'm discovering, as a part of my own ever-expanding learning and development, that sometimes, those things that may be just a bit uncomfortable to talk about are the ones that provide the absolute best lessons and areas for growth and ever-expanding good things both within and without. So, when appropriate, I'll talk about them.
But back to Christmas, and presents.
So I didn't have many toys when I was little. We read instead. Once a week we'd spend the entire afternoon and evening in the library. And we'd take some books home, but we had a decent supply there already. What I did have was books.
But that's off subject. Back to presents. The words said about no Christmas and birthdays were that, regarding presents, this meant that there weren't inauthentic times where you HAD to give presents. Rather, you could give presents whenever you wanted. You weren't ever obligated like you are with holidays, so it would mean more. But, for my situation, combine that with a poor household and you have a childhood with no presents at all. I don't remember ever having the experience of tearing through wrapping paper until I was at least a teenager.
Last night we watched old videos of T's family during holidays - him and his sister going through piles of gifts at a time, giving the obligatory "wow!"s and hugs and thank you's, and I thought as I heard the oohs and ahs of the adults around echo from the old VHS tape what an experience that must have been - to get bunches of things, all for you, because you were loved, a couple of times a year. On the Christmas tape there was also a birthday party for some newly one-year-old cousin. I saw her little smile beam as at least 20 adults sang her "happy birthday" praises, and I thought about what that must do to the brain and spirit, to have that many people around just becasue they love you, and to have them sing to you, and look at you, and smile at you, all at once. What must it do to a one-year-old to be the loved center of the universe for a day. What a blessing for that child!
Nowadays Christmas is lost in the rush and bustle and doing of stuff, not to mention the buying of it and the giving of it. I don't think there's a thing wrong with that. Christmas is about, for me, bringing joy to others because now, more than at any other time, it's accepted to show your love and appreciation for those in your life that you always love and appreciate (but saying it all the time would be awkward).
So just remember what you're doing. And feel it.
And enjoy the week :)