Here's a little story I ran across in a book that my daughter's aunt gave me back in 1993. I've never read this little Christmas book until this year... I guess it's timely enough. I thought I'd share a story with you that broke my heart for reasons I'll explain in a sec... Here it is:
Forgive us our Christmases
The story has been published about a little girl caught in a pre-Christmas swirl of activity, all of which seemed to be coming to a head on Christmas eve.
Dad, loaded down with bundles, seemed to have an even greater number of worries. Mom, under the pressure of getting ready for the great occasion, had yeilded to tears several times during the day.
The little girl herself, trying to help, found that she was always under foot, and sometimes adult kindness to her wore thin.
Finally, near tears herself, she was hustled off to bed.
There, kneeling and praying the Lord's Prayer before finally tumbling in, her mind and tongue betrayed her and she prayed "Forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us".
Perhaps the little girl's prayer wasn't such a great mistake.
Too often we leave out the Christ of Christmas. Too often He is crowded out of our busy lives. Remember, the best gift won't be found in a box but in a person.
OK. Here's MY story and why this hit me particularly hard this year. I lost my most wonderful teenaged daughter Danielle. She was the apple in my eye and the child that was most like me (although they ALL kind of are). She was the child I thought would never leave me. She was attached to me at the hip and loved me very much. Danielle left to live with her daddy because I put too much pressure on her. I wanted her to be perfect and she never COULD be, or so she thought. See... because she was so much like me, I knew all her tricks and you ALL know what a teenage girl is capable of, right? I kind of sat on her a little too hard. I was a super strict mommy who tried to keep her daughters too close. I'm a type A personality times 150 and that CAN'T be easy to be a child growing up in that kind of home, right? Anyway, her dad's family is is very wealthy and they've wanted her to themselves for a while. Now she's there and I haven't been able to speak to her since she left last Feb. She feels too guilty and doesn't want to see the pain that was caused. I know this cause she IS me... only younger and prettier:-)
Now I'm left remembering the times I tried to make so special in my own home. I wanted my girls to know how MAGICAL Christmas was and I did what I could to make it that way. My house was decorated from top to bottom with sparkely decorations. It actually reminded me of Dr. Sueses The Grinch who Stole Christmas... Whoville? Have you seen it? Anyway, along with the celebrations and making our home perfect, came a lot of pressure for the kids. If the cookies didn't turn out just perfect.... they caught hell. Well not really but I DID make a big deal about it. Everyone knew me to be the best baker around and looked forward to my cookies so I needed the girls to follow in my footsteps and be perfect too! They just couldn't. Especially Danielle. She has ADHD and most of you know how hard it is for kids like this to focus on anything. The tinsel on the tree had to be placed just like it would look if it were snow that fell on the tree. Danielle couldn't do this. She'd ball her little fist up and throw it on the tree and it would look a mess but she would be so proud... because to HER, it was pretty. I should have known to go behind her and when she was asleep, place the tinsel in the way that it should go. Instead I would fret and worry and talk about how BAD my tree looked. You get the picture. I could go on and on but this is the gist of it.... I could have done more to make Christmas special for the girls. I shouldn't have needed to be perfect because I caused so much stress here. Danielle wrote me a letter to tell me about it. I had done the EXACT opposite of what I'd hoped to do.
Now Amber, Savannah and Julia tell me that they LOVE Christmas the way I do and they have a whole lot of good memories. They remember the good along with the bad but my Danielle can't remember the good because in her world... it wasn't good.
I can relate to the story from the unknown author and if I could... I WOULD go back and do everything different. I'd appreciate the handmade ornaments from 2nd grade. They'd have a front row seat on my tree! If you know anyone who has little ones... share this story with them. Hopefully they won't make the same mistake I did.
The gift of love and your time is the most IMPORTANT thing you can give your babies. THANK GOD... I'm in Grandma mode now. I'm 44 and old enough to know what's important. Be sure and hug the one's who are important to you:-)