The sun peeking over the horizon added light to the room but not to my thoughts as I realized it was now Christmas Eve. I’d been up for at least 24 hours and the task wasn’t done yet. I was exhausted and more than frustrated with family members whose idea of helping was taking our three school aged girls off our hands while we got the work done. They however had no problem with leaving our two boys with us to deal with while we tried to work. They were both toddlers in diapers.
So while I struggled to help, or keep the boys out from underfoot, my husband strived to get the work done and it wasn’t getting done fast enough. We should have been on the road already. All things considered as the sun dawned bright and clear that Christmas Eve I was short tempered and decidedly not in the Christmas spirit.
After spending the morning attempting to keep the boys out of my husband’s way and finally taking a short break for lunch my husband said he was going to get his friend, who had a truck, to help him haul the garbage to the dump. Then he could finish cleaning the place out. When he was finished we could finally leave, possibly by dinner time, a full 24 hours after we’d originally planned.
As he walked out he said, “Put the boys down and take a nap.”
“Good idea.” It was naptime. I set to work trying to get them to settle down on a couple of blanket on the hardwood floor in the living room while I stretched out on the lone remaining piece of furniture, an old recliner. I was still fighting the boys when my husband and his friend returned.
Our friend pointed to the recliner. “What about that? Is it going to?”
My husband said, “Yes.”
I said, “No way. This is in the last load. You are not taking the only place I have left to rest while I need sleep.”
My husband actually pulled me out of the chair. “We’re only taking one load. It’s going now.”
I fought him. “I can’t sleep on the floor.”
Our friend said, “You’re going to my place.”
In minutes they had me and our boys at his house. His wife tucked our toddlers down with their own kids, a toddler and infant, and had me lie down on their couch while telling their other kids to keep quiet so people could sleep.
Over the next several hours I woke up several times. My husband and our friend brought our girls back from their aunt’s place, and that old recliner. A neighbor came around with gifts for the poor families in the neighborhood and learning our family was there as well left the gifts meant for us too.
Around dinner time my husband and our friend returned saying the cleaning was finally finished but our friends would not hear of us leaving on Christmas Eve.
This couple fed and found places for seven extra people to sleep warm and comfortably on Christmas Eve, made Christmas stockings for everyone and retagged gifts a couple of gifts, I assume intended for them, so my husband and I could have something under the tree. They also insisted we join them for their Christmas feast before they would send us on our way. The only thing I could do was share the treats I had gathered for our Christmas stockings.
My Christmas went from horrible to one of the most beautiful Christmas memories I have because one family gave freely of what little they had.
Isn’t that what Christmas is all about.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.