Friday, December 21, 2007

Got this in an e-mail this morning....Everyone, please enjoy and have a very merry Christmas.

Every year, I promised it would be different. Each December, I vowed to make Christmas a calm and peaceful experience. But, once again, in spite of my plans, chaos prevailed. I had cut back on what I deemed nonessential obligations: extensive card writing, endless baking, Martha Stewart decorating, and, yes, even the all-American pastime, overspending. Yet still I found myself exhausted, unable to appreciate the precious family moments, and, of course, the true meaning of Christmas.

My son, Nicholas, was in kindergarten that year. It was an exciting season for a six-year-old, filled with hopes, dreams and laughter. For weeks, he’d been memorizing songs for his school’s upcoming Winter Pageant.

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d be working the night of the production. Not willing to miss his shining moment, I spoke with his teacher. She assured me there’d be a dress rehearsal in the morning, and that all parents unable to attend the evening presentation were welcome to enjoy it then. Fortunately, Nicholas seemed happy with the compromise.

So, just as I promised, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down. When I looked around the room, I saw a handful of parents quietly scampering to their seats. I began to wonder why they, too, were attending a dress rehearsal, but chalked it up to the chaotic schedules of modern family life.

As I waited, the students were led into the building. Each class, accompanied by their teacher, sat crossed-legged on the floor. The children would become members of the audience as each group, one by one, rose to perform their song. Because the public school system had long stopped referring to the holiday as “Christmas,” I didn’t expect anything other than fun, commercial entertainment. The Winter Pageant was filled with songs of reindeer, Santa Claus, snowflakes and good cheer. The melodies were fun, cute and lighthearted. But nowhere to be found was even the hint of an innocent babe, a manger, or Christ’s precious, sacred gifts of life, hope and joy.

When my son’s class rose to sing “Christmas Love,” I was slightly taken aback by its bold title. However, within moments, I settled in to watch them proudly begin their number. Nicholas was aglow, as were all of his classmates, adorned in fuzzy mittens, red sweaters and bright snowcaps upon their heads. Those in the front row, center stage, held up large letters, one by one, to spell out the title of the song. As the class would sing “C is for Christmas,” a child would hold up the letter C. Then, “H is for Happy,” and on and on, until each child holding up his or her portion had presented the complete message, “Christmas Love.

”The performance was going smoothly, until suddenly, we noticed her, a small, quiet girl in the front row holding the letter M, upside-down! She was entirely unaware that reversed, her letter M appeared as a W. She fidgeted from side to side, until she had moved away from her mark entirely. The audience of children snickered at this little one’s mistakes. In her innocence, she had no idea they were laughing at her and stood tall, proudly holding her W.

You can only imagine the difficulty in calming an audience of young, giggling children. Although many teachers tried to shush them, the laughter continued. It continued, that is, until the moment the last letter was raised, and we all saw it together. A hush came over the audience and eyes began to widen. In that instant, we finally understood the reason we were there, why we celebrated in the first place, why even in the chaos, there was a purpose for our festivities. For, when the last letter was held high, the message read loud and clear, “CHRIST WAS LOVE.” And, I believe, He still is.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My friend over at weekends off thinks I died so I better just get on with it...

OK, so this is my 100th post...

I have been sitting here for over a week and a half trying to think of something "witty" to say or do on this 100th post. But....nothing....nada...zilch!!

I will tell you (with a smile on my face) that my daughter and her son are back on NC soil as we speak. They will be staying with me for a while. Sarah is going to go back to school so she can get a better job to support herself and her son. AND....speaking of her son, my 3rd grandchild...the little shit!

We are on the way to Taco Bell (because it is so healthy) today at lunchtime and all of a sudden I hear it....loud and clear...coming from the back seat of my car....this child that is going to be 2 on Thursday....a very loud and clear "Damn". So, what do I do??? I laugh (oh please, you would have laughed too) I really laugh, which tickles him and he says it over and over again. I choose to ignore this behavior until he says just as cute as can be....grandma......grandma (ok, it sounds more like mommy but he is calling me, I assure you) finally I say "what is it Alex?" and he says "damn" and laughs. Thankfully I am back at work at this time and so I just tell him that grandma will see him after work and they drive away. Hopefully when they come to pick me up he will have forgotten it, I don't know though, he remembers really good.

This morning he went behind the shelves and found his squishy (pacifier, that he has not had for almost a week now) and comes out looks right at his mom and says "ha ha". What a hoot this kid is!

I am almost done with Christmas. I bought the adult children a few things and I will give them each some money. I have bought the grand kids too much (at least that is what my husband has told me, said there are at least 50 presents under the tree, I am sure he is just exaggerating). This is my holiday. I love giving presents. I buy my son (who is 26 this year) a toy every year, don't ask me why, I just do. Usually it is just something small, like a nerf gun or something like that. This year I bought him rock em sock em robots. He is going to die!!

Now, I will update you on Brandie...because I just got a call and well, I am sure you want to know LOL!

Brandie is in her 7th or 8th month of pregnancy. She has been off the drugs and away from that puke Mark for almost 6 months. She is doing well. She was going to put this baby up for adoption and had gone as far as to talk with a private adoption office but suffice to say, not going to happen. When Mark was contacted he decided that he does not want to give the baby up and if Brandie is not willing to keep the baby, he will take the child and raise her himself. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN! Brandie will keep this child and raise her. She has gone to all her parenting classes and has gone through rehab. she is on her way to being a better parent. Has everyone forgiven her....No. Will they? Yes, I think so. My mom has let her stay with her for a few days and has forgiven her. My younger sister was really mad about this but I explained that if it was my granddaughter, I would do the same thing and so would she. I know this is going to be difficult for everyone but the Lord above wants nothing more then for us to forgive.

I am still very angry with Brandie, mostly because although she acted like she was sorry, she never said the words....until today.

My sister (not her mother) was taking her to an appointment and she finally said that she knows what she did was wrong, she knows that she was a terrible parent and she is soo soo sorry for everything that happened. She has to live with this everyday. She can only speak with her children on Wednesdays and Saturdays and she now knows that is just not enough. Their dad has really turned into not so good of a parent either. I think they are better off right now where they are but he is a low life and does not know how to parent either. He and his girlfriend break up every other day and fight like cats and dogs. I don't think this is a good environment either.

What is going to happen? I have not a clue. I would love to see Brandie get her shit together, I know that Russell would love to send the kids back (he is just so tired of being a parent, waaa waa waa) I don't think Brandie is ready yet. She has gone on a housing list, she has, like I said finished parenting classes, she has already got day care set up for the baby when she comes and she has been looking for a job (everyone tells her not to bother right now, no one is going to hire her) but it is looking up.

I think that part of our little dysfunctional family is going to finally come together.

Merry Christmas Everyone. Remember the reason for the season.