Monday, October 3, 2011

One Upon a Nativity

The other day I was telling Katherine of the story from when I was a kid and we were really poor, though it never seemed so, since we always had a roof over our heads and food to eat; with the repetition I remember, it is a good thing I liked hot cereal, especially cream of wheat! You see, Katherine hasn't got any context for having a limited income, being an only child whose parents are blessed with always having enough of everything, though it has been shaking in the past. I will tell the story I acquainted her with, because I think it is worth telling.

In 1988, I was ten years old. It was winter time and my mom had begun working again when we moved back up north from our short stint in H.B., because she had the most marketable skill set as a nurse and she'd had recent experience in Cali. My dad was at home for us kids, so there was always a parent in the home, thus he was responsible for the home front. My mom travelled some 45+ minutes through the mountains on a shuttle bus one way, to the next biggest town for her job, so she got up extra early every day, then came home sometime after 6, I believe. You can imagine the length of being away from home and family.

Day in and day out, this was the way things were; my dad was wrangling 4 kids, a couple cats and a dog, while my mom spent endless hours out of the house, caring for everyone else's family, so we could make ends meet, though split six ways, plus paying for the shuttle to work, you can imagine what we had. It was going to be Nativity soon and we didn't even have a church close enough to go celebrate the feast. I remember snow at twilight, as my siblings and I devised a plan for the eve of the feast, while my parents were out on a walk. We decided that we would wrap our own things to give to each other, so we would have gifts to give and receive. The tree, which I think may have been someone else's before coming to our house, was alit with fun lights from my aunt. They were like lava lamps, but with colored water and the bubbles were much faster. We scrambled around getting things together and watched for my parents' return. We made sure that the lights were off in the rest of the house, so it was just the tree, shining in its own beauty.

I don't remember a lot, but I do recall some hugs and smiles. If memory serves, it was night when we opened things, but I won't rely on the timing, just the subject, so bear with me here. We opened the things we had wrapped for one another and a couple of other little items, when my mom appeared with a rather large box (or was it a giant plastic bag?) for each of us. One for each of us kids, though we knew there wouldn't be much, there was a personal blanket for us. They each had a corduroy top and flannel underneath, with batting between. She had embroidered our names and the year on the edge. I still have mine, though it is a bit worse for wear, it has moved with me to every place I have lived since. You see, somewhere in all the working, traveling, and parenting, my mom had gotten up early and gone to bed late, to make these for us, so we would have something new on the feast of Nativity.

These are my parents, who loved one another so dearly to have 4 kids, with whom to share their love. In times of having very little earthly goods, we were afforded the opportunity to see the spiritual goods and character, with which God has embodied in them, however imperfect they may be. I was reading the other day about a monk who was talking to the person who wrote the article, on having kids, before he and his new wife were ever pregnant, they wanted advice. They thought it would be more complicated than the answer they received. In effect, it was that what makes for good children and parenting, is for parents to love one another. The kids will see the example of love and sacrifice through the parents devotion to one another, in all ways. This is what I believe God has blessed my family with and also why so many people like to be around us. My parents worked very hard to maintain a home for us through it all, for that I am grateful. They have been through more than their share of struggles and have made it through. They are an example for me even now, as a wife and mother, because they have been here and understand.

I love you, mom and dad. Thanks for your faith, work, love and devotion!


Mary said...

I love this!
Thanks for sharing!

elizabeth said...

really enjoyed this. Thank you.

Xen Xen said...

My pleasure!