Guest Post Series: The 12 Days of Christmas

My mom, Nancy, is posting a different Christmas memory for 12 days. She gave me her blessing to repost them here. It’s amazing how a life story can be told through the lens of a certain day.

Seventh Christmas Day Memory

Christmas Photo

(As most of you know, Phil was shot and killed June 9, 1984 while serving with the VA National Guard, and Philip/PJ was born 5 weeks later on July 15th.)

There we were in Fredericksburg having our first Christmas after Phil was killed. I took on the all the tasks – determined that Christmas would happen for the children just like they expected. Wrangling a Christmas tree brought me to tears as I dragged it home and struggled to get the dang thing to stay up. I baked, I shopped, I prepared for the stockings, check /check /check – everything getting done on my list. I knew I could do this Christmas thing and get ‘er done.

However I had no idea how to create the magic.

My brother Tim, my sister in law Melinda and their two children had recently moved to PA and graciously decided to drive down to spend Christmas with us. That meant they had to do all their Christmas at their house before they left. They even invited us up to their home to spend New Year’s Day, helping us have something to look forward to. Having them in my home meant so much to me that year.

On Christmas Eve (or maybe the day before?) we were waiting for Tim and Melinda to arrive any minute – the house was tidy and decorated, the children were in their clean clothes waiting – when there was a knock at the door. To my surprise there was Santa Clause and about 5 adults all carrying wrapped packages. In they came insisting on watching the children open what looked like a mountain of gifts. It was a group of Phil’s co-workers from Mt. Vernon Realty. How they got the names and the ages of the kids I have no idea. Poor Kylie – they thought she was a boy named Kyle so her gifts were not quite right, but still the community had tried to show us the love and magic of the season.

Just thinking about that outpouring is very humbling. We were that needy family that year. We might not have been needy in the dollar sense, but we were sorely in need of some magic.

To experience being on the receiving end of charity was a lesson to be learned in how to be grateful for the grace of others and to allow them to reach out to us.
Each and every Christmas let us try to be aware of those around us that are alone or needy in so many different ways.

Picture is of that Christmas 1984; Cabbage Patch dolls handmade by my mother.

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Part of the solution since 1973.

4 thoughts on “Guest Post Series: The 12 Days of Christmas

  1. Reblogged this on An Upturned Soul and commented:
    This is a beautiful story of the spirit of Christmas and humans.
    .
    I’m linking this to today’s Daily Post prompt: Getting Seasonal. I hope the author of this doesn’t mind.
    .
    The Daily prompt asked: The holiday season: can’t get enough of it, or can’t wait for it all to be over already? Has your attitude toward the end-of-year holidays changed over the years?
    .
    If I answered this from my own experience… but so much of this time of year is about understanding the world beyond yourself, how this season affects those who are around you, in all the diverse layers which surround you, and what it means for them. What it means for others can change what it means for you too.
    .
    Enjoy, best wishes and thank you for sharing your spirit of this season!

  2. This brought tears to my eyes. And I am grateful that your mom shared this. My husband, Patrick, is going on his 17th year in the Army. He has been deployed 4 times and more holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries than I would like to count. There is always a cloud of fear that hangs over my head that maybe this time might be the one, that this will be the time he wont make it home, and it permeates every fiber of my being. So it makes every weekend that much sweeter. Every cup of coffee shared in the morning that more special. Each moment shared with our children that much more memorable. It makes us live ” in the moment”. Family and friends are so important. Thank you for sharing how special they truly are.

    1. It’s true, Lindsey–live each day like it’s the last. It’s a hard lesson to remember, and something I’ve had to learn over and over. But you never know when you might lose someone, without the chance to say goodbye. So try to make sure that every moment you have with them is a loving one.

    2. Thank you so much for your comment and for you and your husband’s service. You are so much more aware of living and appreciating every moment than most people. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

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