Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ghosts of Christmas Past #3

My daughter was 3 years old, I think. It was our first Christmas together, alone. Her dad wasn't a part of the picture, and indeed, hadn't even dropped off a gift for her. But she and I were there, together. Uncle Davydd came over, and brought her a little present. We cooked a turkey, with stuffing, the first year we made "song stuffing" (bread, butter, 2 eggs, and parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme). It became a family tradition for us, a lovely thing to do, together.

So it was Christmas Eve, and we were singing Christmas carols, and talking about the Winter Solstice, and about Jesus and the story of his birth, when there's a firm knock at my door. I answer it, and it is the most gorgeous young man I've ever seen. He's built like a calendar model, and he's wearing nice clothes, and a tag proclaiming him to be a fire fighter. Apparently, some kind soul put us on the list of recipients for a gift basket from the community. They picked the most handsome fire fighters to deliver the baskets, to give the single moms a thrill. It worked.

In this basket, brought by this angelic young man, was a small chicken, all the fixings for a small meal, a can of oysters, some crackers, some soup, tuna, packages of macaroni and cheese, and a few small toys for my daughter. It wasn't much, but it brought tears to my eyes.

Those first few years were very lean, but they never lacked for love. My daughter was wrapped in love, surrounded by people who found her smile and her laugh to be the most wonderful things in the world. That first year, I had almost no cash at all. What little I had, had been spent on rent and food and heat. But I went to the dollar store equivalent, and bought a pack of play food for $5 or so, and then wrapped each piece of plastic food separately. She had an amazing morning, unwrapping gift after gift, not realizing that her "bounty" was the result of me not having money to buy better. For her, it was the greatest joy. And her joy translated to mine, because she was, and is, my life.
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