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friday 12.01.2000
holiday wonder

this year we're not having much of a christmas. with an income of $950 a month there's just no way to swing it, not even doing a gift exchange is affordable at this point. but have you ever noticed how kids can meet these kind of circumstances with style? and paper. lots of paper.

my kids are planning to make gifts this year. and the older ones are teaching the youngest girl the idea of making gifts from paper. yes, this can end up costing a fortune in said paper, but that is cheaper than jumping into the holiday insanity at the stores. saxy and i will get pictures and cards, and maybe even a paper doll or two, made with their very own hands and lots of heart. how do i know this? the secret gift making meetings in one of the bedrooms has begun. begging for paper is becoming an every day thing. scissors, glue, and tape have all begun their vanishing act, sometimes with permission sometimes without.

and i am very proud of them for thinking this way. gifts from our own hands, i think, show more love than going out to a store, fist fighting over the last pair of slippers, play station, or stuffed barney, getting it home only to hide it for several weeks before you wrapping it and throwing it under a tinseled tree. not that any of this is bad, mind you. and i am in awe of those brave souls who attempt the stores at this most commercial time of year. in any year when i have purchased gifts i have made every effort to make sure they were bought after the new year's sales and returns but before thanksgiving. i don't believe in war over material things that will be broken or lost or too small within months. and i generally refuse to participate in the commercialism that surrounds what is to me a very personal holiday. i celebrate christ's birth at this time, not the mass commercialism that has been surrounding it for generations now. and a gift from our own hands and hearts fits that feeling nicely.

so, i have been considering what to do for my kids on christmas. if you have any ideas on what to do for an 8 year old (but developmentally 6 year old) autistic boy, let me know. froggy has yet to have her own site, but perhaps i can start her one, even at the tender age of 6 1/2. for the older girls, i think i will make them each their own christmas pages, complete with holiday graphics, adoptions and all the other fun things that can count as gifts. i may also do the same for my husband, then again, he may just be happy with the present of me. we shall see. (since he reads this, i may just have to come up with something totally different. any suggestions?)

one of the best gifts we could have right now is that we're all together. we're a family again, and we're doing well. better than we ever have done. saxy is making an effort to get along with the kids and doing well. kitten is actually trusting him again, at least as far as we can tell. the atmosphere in the house is warmer, and we are actually all having fun with each other, every once in awhile he starts to withdraw from them and shadows of the behaviors that endangered our marriage previously reappear, but a reminder usually gets him thinking about it. i no longer worry about my children being abused as they were. he wants it to work and is willing to do what it takes to make it work.

and the kids have "real" grandparents again. i always said saxy's parents were the best thing that ever happened to them. they are not verbally abusive like my ex-mother-in-law, nor are there sever mental problems as with my mother. no, these grandparents love the kids to death. they want to do things that the kids will like, take into account their ages and tastes when buying gifts, they DO things with them and take them places. they make my kids feel valued. and one of the things the kids really hated about saxy's and my time apart was the fact that the grandparents were gone too. i'm not sure they would have stayed gone, as much as they loved the children, but initially the pain was too much for them. and that i can understand. but these grandparents are already planning and getting the spoils for the kids' christmas.

and this christmas, gifts or no, money or no, we will all be together for the traditional (or near traditional as i don't think cornish hens will be on the menu this year) christmas dinner. together. as a family. what a wonderful present for a family that just a couple of months ago was on the verge of breaking apart.

i hope your holidays hold something just as wonderful.

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