Santa Clause is coming to town!

Or maybe not.  This past weekend as we were putting up the Christmas decorations around the house, Oldest “kinda” asked her father if Santa was real.  As I was brought into the conversation, I could tell that her father REALLY wanted to tell her the truth.

Ever since we had our babies he wanted to avoid the Santa thing all together, just keeping to the real truth of the holiday.  I was afraid if we raised them with no Santa at all, they might ruin it for other kids or be mad at us for keeping that little bit of childhood fantasy from them.  So we met halfway and try to concentrate on Jesus and never push the Santa stuff too hard.  He just comes to our house for a snack of cookies and milk and to fill all of our stockings.  The kiddos also leave some carrots out for the reindeer to munch on.

As I sat down, I simply asked oldest to repeat her question to me.  She hesitated, looking back and forth into our eyes.  She ended up deciding that she didn’t want to know the answer yet which tells me that she does know, she just isn’t ready to hear it out loud.  She doesn’t want to let go of the fantasy just yet.

I walked away happy, keeping my “little” girl for a while longer.  Her father walked away happy knowing that inside she knows the truth.  Oldest walked away happy too, getting to believe in some magic for a little bit longer.

What kind of a receipt do I want?

The depression fog seems to slowly be lifting as I have been talking more and more with my guy about the things that are bothering me. Most of them things that are well out of my control and that I just have to walk through and decide if I want to do it with faith and grace or throw a fit like a two year old. There are certainly moments when acting a fuss seems way more appealing than being grown up and having the faith and grace that I sometimes lack. But my mantra for grad school certainly can apply here…if you fake it till you make it eventually you make it.

But now my attention is needed elsewhere and that is the holiday season. I am in a weird place with Christmas this year. I get in a weird place with it every year it seems. Choosing to have me stay home with my children on a meager teacher’s salary always works quite nicely. My guy and I have learned how to be resourceful and make it work. But Christmas is a big hit to the wallet. It certainly has improved since I have picked up teaching. But it is still a whole lot more money flying out of that wallet than I care to let go of with my guys job possibly in jeopardy and me cutting down on the time I teach to be home more.

So I purposefully have not bought any gifts because I really want to have a plan of attack in mind. And I don’t mean the sit down plan your route with ads kind of attack. I mean I want to go in being aware. In conversations you hear people say, “Oh it was only 20..40..60 dollars.” And I think the same (Or I should say I act the same), but I know in my heart 20, 40 or 60 dollars is a huge deal for us. It is food in a fridge or a new winter coat for # 2 who will need it very soon. I get sad because it can bring about a real case of keeping up with the Joneses and a severe feeling of inadequacy as a parent.

Every other time of the year I know and am confident in my decision to be home with my girls on our minimal income. I am comfortable knowing that we made the right decisions and sacrifices. I said that much here. For birthdays when there is not such a large hit we always make sure to spoil our girls a little extra. But when Christmas comes I feel like less of a mother because we cannot afford to spoil our kids stinking rotten with large expensive gifts. I know I am not in my heart, but as I said above it is so easy to get caught up in all. And some years I have gotten caught up in it all. I have gone out and spent that feeling away only to pay for those bills for months and that yucky feeling exists in a much different way.

This year I am trying to ward of that feeling and the consequences of it.  My guy and I have worked really hard playing a defensive type game with our finances lately partially because we felt called to do it and partially because we wanted to plan for the worst. Therefore, it will require thought and dealing with my own insecurities as a parent and trying to not get caught up in the dollars but the feelings:

And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  Luke 12:15

And while I am not one to quote bible verse publicly I am today because to be honest in my most insecure self moments they get me through. I know I am where I am meant to be and I need to stay focused on the bigger picture. It isn’t the receipt at the end of this holiday. It is how that receipt makes me feel when I go to bed at night.

The Down and the Dirty

There are approximately two weeks left in the semester. That is two weeks for me to grade 44 final drafts of two papers that my students will hand in. I have a 20 minute presentation on Thursday and two 13-15 page papers to follow due next week and 1 family literacy project that is already 16 pages.

And I decided I wanted a Mom’s Christmas shopping weekend away with my best friend, Mommy Jargon. So it is cram cram cram. Which I am totally okay with but that is the reason why I am in hiding. I believe I will be able to jump into my regularly daily blogging tomorrow. As most of these things are accomplished. If they aren’t the rough drafts are and I am sitting pretty for a bit. 🙂

Is off…

Mommy Rhetoric is off and enjoying her family, eating, drinking, playing games and looking through my 557 drafts from my students. Okay I exaggerate a little. Maybe just 556. Oh and writing two of my very own papers and one presentation. Good times, I tell ya!

 

Happy Thanks-give-give-giving Resolution

I have been struggling this week with giving.   Lately, I have noticed that the “givers” out there are getting smaller and smaller in numbers.  Not just with money, but also with their time.

I have seen someone, with a lot of passion to help others, take a lot of time to organize some wonderful community projects.  He spread the word in a big way to get others excited to help out with only a few hours of their time.  Yet, out of the 800 plus people who heard of the project, 5 people showed up to help.  I am really, really sorry that I was not even one of the 5.

Our elementary PTO is starting a huge recruitment project because if we do not get more members to help out, we are considering shutting down at the end of the school year.  We are going to be losing half of our 8 member crew.  The remaining 4 of us just feel too overwhelmed to carry on alone supporting the 650 students.  So far our recruiting has been met with crickets chirping.

At times I get pretty burned up about this.  Why do I care about how someone else’s kid is reading at school?  I don’t know the answer, but I do care for some reason.  Why do I care that our church, with a very large membership, had very few Operation Christmas Child boxes this year?  I don’t know, I was hoping to see hundreds of boxes go out to all the orphans of the world when we have so much.  Instead it looked like a pretty puny stack in my eyes.

It saddens me seeing less and less of people coming together to do good.  I know how it feels to have a passion for something and not have the support to make a big difference like I want. Because of knowing that feeling, I am making a resolution a little early (or a little late depending on your view).  I am going to be more open to helping others who have a big passion and need support, even when it isn’t my passion too.  Instead of feeling discouraged about the amount of people helping and giving up, I will know that the dent that we make is better than nothing.