Tuesday, December 13, 2011
SIMPLE WHITE ENVELOPE
It's just a small white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree.
No name, no identification, no inscription.
It has peeked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas
--oh, not the true meaning of Christmas,
but the commercial aspects of it -- the overspending,
the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry
and the dusting powder for Grandma
-- the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way,
I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties, and so forth.
I reached for something special just for Mike.
The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year,
was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended.
Shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team
sponsored by an inner-city church.
These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings
seemed to be the only thing holding them together,
presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms
and sparkling new wrestling shoes.
As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team
was wrestling without headgear,
a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's ears.
It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.
Well, we ended up walloping them.
We took every weight class.
And as each of their boys got up from the mat,
he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado,
a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly,
'I wish just one of them could have won,' he said.
'They have a lot of potential,
but losing like this could take the heart right out of them.'
Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he knew them,
having coached little league football, baseball, and lacrosse.
That's when the idea for his present came.
That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church.
On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree,
the note inside telling Mike what I had done
and that this was his gift from me.
His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition
--one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game,
another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers
whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.
It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning,
and our children, ignoring their new toys,
would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents,
but the envelope never lost its allure.
The story doesn't end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to cancer.
When Christmas rolled around,
I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.
But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree,
and in the morning it was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others,
had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.
The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further
with our grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation
watching as their fathers take down the envelope.
Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
May we all remember the true Christmas spirit this year and always.
*(this is a story shared with me from a friend. I do not know the author).
Friday, December 09, 2011
A Hit to the Head...a hole in the heart.
this is not a feel good blog update...this is something that is happening to me now and I am trying to find my strength and hopefully my smile again.
I think I have it all together...
...that I have my mask on and the world will never know how much I am hurting inside.
It has been 3 days since it happened and I think I am getting better only to realize I am not.
How can strangers see I am in trouble and no one close to me?
The First day, I must of looked rough, even though my hair and makeup was done as usual. I don't think I missed any steps in my routine, maybe my smile wasn't as bright as it usually is. I had people I don't know asking me if I was ok or if I was sick; or just doing very kind things for me.
The Second day, I really think I was better, better in control. I had a plan of action and was going to do all of it...and I did. It probably helped that I was with friends (who didn't know) and we were painting and having a good time.
The Third day...Today...
I again have a very full schedule, I am running here, there and everywhere with so much to do and no time to do it. But that is ok, it keeps me going.
Thought actually that I was doing really, really good.
Then I heard from my friend that her 18 year old son was in a car accident last night. He has a concussion and is pretty banged up, but he should be fine. WE are praying he will be fine...and he will.
But I guess this news rocked my mask.
A stranger who I volunteered with at church today, asked if I was ok, because I looked like I was going to cry....and I did.
I am again in fact while I write this...yeah...me, miss bubbly.
I seem to have lost my smile and joy, my happiness. I had it three days ago...
I put on a good front, I have to.
But how do you deal with a loved one, very close to you, telling you they are going to jump off a bridge? That they can't 'handle' the job; life; whatever anymore.
It was not a joke.
I take this very seriously, and that is why I feel like I have been kicked in the head and my heart torn from my chest.
I am not 'allowed' to talk to anyone about this and they will NOT go to the doctor. I am wracking my brain as to all that I should do and am doing allot.
But will it be enough?
I feel like it is now I who has depression and am teetering on an abyss.
Thanks for listening.
Friday, December 02, 2011
NIX THE NICKNAMES
Big Bum (in a variety of languages)
The list goes on…
These were names that I called myself…
These were names that others called me…
Yes, others called me these…
Some professed to love me…
Why would someone who loves you call you names? Why would you call yourself these names?
I am sure there were other names that I have buried in the recesses of my mind, due to the hurt they inflicted.
Sure maybe they didn’t know that it hurt…
…maybe my laughter hid the hurt…
I mean why not laugh if the other option is to cry?
It didn’t make it hurt any less; it just made me feel more successful in the role of uncaring, but fun fat person that I was…
I think if someone were to call me this now, I wouldn’t stand for it.
But then who am I kidding?
I CARE about others feelings, so my loved ones who call me by nicknames that they have called me for years may not understand my sudden turnaround from funny fat person to offended not-so-obese person.
I don’t want to hurt them…
Can’t they see they are hurting me?
Though Chubrub may be the mildest of them all, I will keep that as a reminder of where I was and what I left behind…
Figuratively and literally…
I am still bigger than I want to be…
But that is ok, because my journey is not over...
I am a lot smaller than I was….
And I will be smaller yet…
It doesn’t matter how hard the journey is or will be, I will succeed.
I am not going back to those derogatory names.
So let’s love ourselves.
Let’s make a stand.
NIX THE NICKNAMES!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
I USED TO BE...
I USED TO BE a quiet introvert, who stayed home as much as I could...
...now I am an extrovert most times who is like a social butterfly upon leaving her cocoon.
I USED TO BE a mother whose son told his teacher that my favourite position was lying on the sofa reading a book...
...now I am a mother who never sits still.
I USED TO BE a mother who was too tired to play with her son when he was small...
...now I have the energy and will to do so; but my son is too tired from growing into an adult.
I USED TO BE a wife who kept a fairly tidy house and always had scrumptious, yet unhealthy goodies in the freezer and the cupboards...
...now I have a very clean home, with only healthy, nutritious foods in our fridge, freezer and cupboards.
I USED TO BE a wife with a constant headache...
...now that is no more.
I USED TO BE a Baker who loved what she made and ate it all...
...now I am a baker who doesn’t eat bread.
I USED TO BE an agreeable sort and never disagree with anyone...
...now I stand up for what I believe is right for me and for the good of others.
I USED TO BE invisible....
...now I am very visible.
I USED TO BE a person who walked hunched and never made eye contact...
...now I walk with confidence, head up, shoulders back and eye contact with a smile.
I USED TO BE a person others scorned or ridiculed...
...now I am someone others admire.
I USED TO BE an object of pity...
...now that is no more.
I USED TO BE someone who would buy clothes to hide my body behind...
...now I buy clothes that actually fit.
I USED TO BE classified as morbidly obese...
...now I am just obese.
I USED TO BE a size 22...
...now I am a size 12-14.
I USED TO BE dependent on 5 needles and 90 units of insulin a day to help my diabetes...
...now I inject 4 needles and 38 units of insulin a day.
I USED TO BE a person who exercised rarely...
...now I am a person who exercises regularly.
I USED TO BE a person who never stopped eating...
...now I am a person who stops before she is full.
I USED TO BE someone who only dreamed of reaching for her goals...
...now I am someone who has achieved her goals and created new ones.
WHO DID YOU USE TO BE?
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