It's 12:36 on Saturday, December 27 and I am still in my pajamas. So are two of my four kids. What a decadent and freeing end to the hustle and bustle of this week. As I went through my overly gifted week with my children (which, sadly, still has more gifts to come from my side of the family) I couldn't help but think of a few things that are real blessings to me this year:
I couldn't help but think of all the friends I have made on the adoption journey this year. I especially thought of Norm and Karyn, Susan and Randy, Becky and Keith, Carol and Lance, and a few others who are getting to experience Christmas for the first time this year with a child in their arms. I remember so well that first year with Jack. He had been home only three and a half weeks when Christmas rolled around and it was absolutely THRILLING for Brian and I to finally be getting the experience of creating our own Christmas memories and traditions.
I was also thinking of my special friends Michelle and Ian, Nicole and Brett, Barb and Stefan, and Karen and Kerry, who got to celebrate with a little pink this year after many years of ALOT of blue. I could identify with them so much this year and thought of them when I was purchasing things like Meg's play kitchen and tea set, etc.
The other thing that meant alot to me was this idea from Karyn about putting an envelope on the tree to celebrate the birth mothers of my children. Since I didn't see the idea in time for Christmas, I am stealing her idea and gong to do this as a way to commemorate the Russian Christmas, which is in January. I am going to take some of the unused photo boxes I have in my closet and label each one with a child's name on it. Starting this year, I will put a piece of artwork, maybe a Christmas photo, or some other memorable trinket from the year. I am also going to carry on Karyn's idea of making a donation in honor of each of their birth mothers. I love this idea and wanted to pass it to all of you who might be looking for a way to honor a birth mother than you can never reach out to. Thanks for the idea Karyn!
Also this year, our families had decided not to give gifts to each other (parents and siblings did not exchange gifts in our family this year.) When my in-laws came for Christmas with large boxes for each couple, I thought that they had decided to surprise everyone with a special something, but I had no idea how special that something was going to be. They had taken "things" from their attic and closets that had belonged to Brian's granparents and passed them on to each couple. It was a very sweet gift and one that took some creativity, but meant more than anything they could have purchased.
Even though the idea not to exchange gifts was not my idea (it was between my husband and his sister) I think I was credited (or blamed as the case may be) for trying to force people not to do what they wanted to do on Christmas. As grateful as I am for all the gifts we always recieve from all sides of our family, it's such an overkill of what is necessary that I must say that one of the things that meant the very most to me this year was NOT having alot of gifts to open. I couldn't believe how freeing it was not to have piles and piles of stuff to incorporate into my already blessed and overflowing life. Brian and I did exchange, but I really even could have done without that. I just enjoyed having my kids home, seeing their faces as they opened things they were excited to have, and enjoyed the freedom of less "stuff" and more "fellowship" that was created from the lack of trappings. It's so hard to stare into the face of those who have NOTHING and then celebrate the EVERYTHING that I have without a little guilt. I know the poor will always be with us, but I also know there is nothing in my life that I want or need and not having the "stuff" this year freed me, somehow, to honor and dwell on the important things I wanted to feel this Christmas.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, especially those of you who were celebrating a first of any kind in your life this year... there's nothing like it!
Happy New Year!
"Lord, open my lips; my mouth will proclaim your praise. For you do not desire sacrifice, a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit; God do not spurn a broken, humbled heart."