Ah, my friends. It is Christmas Eve. How can that be? Wasn't it just summer? Or Thanksgiving?
I know the holidays can be rough, especially if you are still waiting for your very own Real Live Baby. It is difficult to stand here, on the "other" side, and tell you to be patient, that your miracle is coming. Because that's the worst part of it all. When I was in the depths of infertility despair, it wasn't the waiting that killed me, it was not knowing IF I would ever become a Mommy. I knew only too well that life isn't fair, that people that deserve to be parents sometimes don't ever get to realize that dream. So, I won't tell you to be patient, have faith, or any other platitude. I will oh-so-gently advise you to have patience with yourself, however, and know that you are doing your best. Infertility is rough and it can do a number on your head, heart, and faith in everything you hold dear, so be gentle with yourself.
I did want to share with you a story that will hopefully warm your heart as it did mine. Every year, M and I adopt a family through a local organization. This year, they changed their rules and didn't do a specific family adoption, but we still gave our usual amount in money rather than gifts. Then, last Friday, we heard about a family in need of assistance through our church. The mom is single, there are three young children, and last week, their home was broken into. They are renting and did have renters' insurance, but also a very high deductible and poor coverage once they get to that. As a result, the mom would not have any gifts for her children on Christmas (even their wrapped packages were stolen).
As we had already done our other Christmas donations for the year, we were quite honestly "tapped out." But we looked at the situation and at our finances, and decided that this was something worth taking a bit out of savings for. We shopped for gifts for each of the children, something small for the mom, and then a gift card for groceries to help with Christmas dinner. It wasn't a lot of money that we spent, but we hoped that it would help them to know that complete strangers were caring about them during a hard time.
Yesterday, I went to drop off the presents and was feeling very "bah humbug." It took me a half hour to take what should have been a five minute trip to the drop off location. Will was being kind of grumpy and not interested in a car ride in a car that was barely moving. Holiday drivers on their way to score a last minute deal were cutting me off, honking horns, and giving one-fingered waves to everyone around them. When I finally got to the office of the person I was supposed to meet, I was almost 20 minutes late and frazzled.
I hustled into the building and a lady was there. She saw me, arms filled with Will and packages. "Oh!" she exclaimed. "Let get the elevator for you! Your little boy is soooo cute! I just want to pinch his lil' cheeks!"
She was friendly, offering to help me with the packages, and pressing the button on the elevator for me. Will flirted and she waved and then we went up to the office. The lady I was meeting was very kind and helped me put the packages in the mom's office. Just as I was about to leave, the lady from downstairs walked in. She was the mom of the family we were adopting.
She gave me a big hug, held Will for a minute, and then we talked about the break in and how traumatic it has been for her as a single mom and her young kiddos. We talked about the things that she lost that cannot be replaced, like antique jewelry from her great-grandmother and her wedding ring that she was saving to give her daughter. I told her that I wished we could have done more, but that we hoped what we had done would help a bit. She was very grateful. After another hug, we left, and I saw tears in her eyes.
I got an e-mail from the person who had set it all up. The lady said that we gave her family something that couldn't be wrapped up: We restored her faith in humanity.
It honestly gives me more than it could ever give to someone else when we adopt a family. The pure joy I get shopping for strangers, for children who otherwise wouldn't be getting anything, is immeasurable. The pressure is still on to make sure that they like what I choose, but only because I know it might be their only gift or one of very few. As I wrap the gifts, I feel an extra sense of care as I fold, cut, tape, and mark the labels "from Santa." As I pen those words, I truly know that there is a Santa, or at least the magical illusion of one. The irritation of the traffic today was no match for the feelings of peace that I felt knowing we had brought some Merry to that family's Christmas. That feeling has stayed with me today, and I hope it will in the days to come.
To all of you, I wish you peace, joy, and love this holiday season. Merry Christmas!