Brian over here:
reminded me of a different time in my life.
These days I haven't posted in a while because I am busy....
busy baking gingerbread houses, watching ballerinas dance to the nutcracker, wrapping presents, handing out gifts, lauging and taking pictures.
I'll post them soon.....
but Brian's post led me to remember,
it was a season of being poor. real poor. my state welfare check was 525. a month, the rent was 490. there were no extras. half the time, there was no basic needs.
i would take the dollar foodstamp, go to the grocery store, buy a pack of peanutbutter cheese crackers for .35- to get the change left over for the city bus. i would have to go back on line over and over again. i needed the cash to pay for my fare, to finish college, to climb out of this hellhole of poverty.
i would rotate paying the phone bills and electric bills every other month to avoid shut off. never paying the entire amount, just the basic bill to keep the utitlities on.
i had no money for toliet paper or sanitary napkins, that was my biggest ache.
i was never really good at keeping my house clean, those years it was worse. i suppose social services should have taken my child just because of the state of my home. i was running to transfer 4 buses each day, toddler in tow, to finish school to make a better life for me and him. running to class, running to daycare, running...and never really catching up with anything.
and christmas would come.
i would let him go to his father's for christmas because i had nothing much for the tree- and wanting him to experience "family" and christmas like every other child. so he would go to his grandmothers upper middle class home, with the trees, the christmas shows, and all the gifts....great big wonderful gifts....and food...and most of all; love of family surrounding him.
oh, i loved him. i loved him more than anyone. i would find a way to beg, borrow and sometimes steal to get those special little things he dreamed off...and we would go to christmas lights that were free....and sit under the tree gazing at the lights.
santa is real.
one year we moved three times from apartment to apartment. getting kicked out for having too messy of a house, getting kicked out because i had a male friend (not a boyfriend) sleep over that was black and my landlord almost died of a heart attack from his racist mind, and one because i just couldn't let the landlord grab my behind one more time...
so we moved, and we moved and we moved....at one point we were in a homeless shelter- the day after christmas. that was the racist landlord that kicked me out the week of christmas because he didn't want girls like me living in his homes; what would the neighbors think of him?
the following year, i moved to a little apartment above a deli that was on the cove of wethersfield. i took less transit busses to get to school at st. joseph's college. i started to take my son (4 now) to the congregational church after he had a bad reaction to his grandfather dying. (real bad, he thought when they buried him that he was in the sewers with the teenage mutant ninja turtles).
we lived in wethersfield Connecticut- one of the affluent towns in our state with old charming history. we walked to the First Church of Christ every Sunday, with our cat in tow like a puppy. i started to volunteer to teach Sunday school and meet other families. i left my paganism behind me and returned to the roots of my childhood in hopes of security for my son's life.
and then christmas came.
Wealthy families in church that wanted to share their love. one woman who worked at Aetna Insurance had their company adopt us.
i never told anyone about the toliet paper and sanitary napkin heartache of poverty.
that year i had presents galore, stacked up in my living room for myself and my son. i had food baskets, canned goods, toys, clothes...and little treats that make christmas special. i had a wall mountain of toliet paper, no lie. my kitchen wall had toliet paper stacked from floor to ceiling- because every gift giver had included a large package of it.
that year, i kept my son home and we walked to christmas eve service at that beautiful church; i cried and thanked God.
the poinsettas in the assembly, the beautiful hymns, the church bells ringing,
and the loving faces of my church family surrounding us.
I LOVE christmas, and Santa is really real.....
thanks for letting me share.
thanks to Brian, for helping me stop and remember what christmas is really about.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY
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