I grew up as a “Christmas Baby”, having been born the day after Jesus (2000 or so years later, thank you very much). Everyone always felt sorry for me, sure that my birthday must get overshadowed by Christmas. Honestly, my parents did a fantastic job of making it special. They never combined presents, never wrapped my birthday presents in Christmas paper, and always gave me a birthday dinner that was all my own. The one year that Mom forgot about my birthday, I was a sophomore in college. At some point on Christmas day, she realized her mistake. To make up for it, she took me on a huge shopping spree, probably spending two times what she normally would have. I was really totally OK with that. Thanks again, Mom.
The Dude is a Christmas Baby too, only I fear his mom isn’t doing as good a job of things. Money’s always tight at this time of year, and this year it’s especially so. For his birthday, I craftily used sales and coupons, combined with a bit of re-gifting, to get gifts that were – mostly – on his list and that I thought he would – totally – enjoy. I wrapped small gifts in separate boxes so he would get to open a lot of gifts, hoping that would disguise the fact that he wasn’t getting the value he would normally get. And we also gave him cash – wrapped up, too – so that he could combine his resources to get the super duper remote control car that he really wants. He saw through my ploy and cheapness, and, while I’d love to say that I have a Christ-centered angel of a child who said, “Mommy, I understand that your love is more important than any gift you can give me,” I do not. It was an ugly night, with a very unhappy child, a guilt-ridden mama, and a dad who was very ticked off by a total lack of gratitude and an over-active sense of entitlement. There was yelling, there was crying, there were threats that all gifts would be returned. This Christmas baby momma of a Christmas baby child felt like a total failure, on many levels.
All of that happened Tuesday night, the night before his birthday. He went to bed having already identified it as “the worst birthday ever,” before the day had even started. I went to bed dreading the day to come. When I first woke him Wednesday morning, he was the same forlorn child I had cradled in my arms as he went to sleep. Then something clicked in his brain and I suddenly saw a transformation in his eyes. He had decided that this would be a good day. He made a choice to overcome the events of the evening past, to be grateful for the presents he had received, and to make the most of the hand he’d been dealt. Some small part of my little boy became a man in that moment.
Adding further to The Dude’s Christmas Baby doldrums, Boo woke up puking this morning. Guess what was planned for tonight? Yep. Dude’s sleepover with seven friends to celebrate his tenth birthday has now been postponed, most likely until after the New Year. That little part of my boy that became a man Wednesday morning reverted to childhood when he found out, but he did eventually square his shoulders and seemed to be doing well when I saw him at his class Christmas party this morning. Guilt-ridden mommy is back, however, even though there’s nothing I can do to change the situation.
On a happier note, here’s a pic of the kids exuberant tree all lit up last night.
And here’s one to help you appreciate the added joy of the illuminated bannister. Note the Lionel train track running around the base of the tree. Truly a delightful tree for any child!
Favorite Rosary thought for the week: When I meditate on the Visitation, I often think of Zechariah, and reading his story on Thursday this week leaves him fresh in my mind. Having questioned the angel and shown a lack of faith, he is left speechless until the day he follows the angel’s direction to name the baby, “John.” This busy time of year is an excellent time to think about savoring the silence, and the value of listening. Days like today, I am grateful to have just a few moments of peace during which I remember to take a deep breath and say, “Thank you, Lord,” or, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
I loved the intentions from Morning Prayer on Monday, and thought I’d share:
Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, light from light, leads us into the light and reveals his holiness. With confidence let us make our prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus!
Light that never fades, rise to dispel the mists about us,
– Awaken our faith from sleep.
Guard us from all harm today,
-May your glory fill us with joy.
Give us unfailing gentleness at all times,
– toward everyone we meet.
Come to create a new earth for us,
– where there will be justice and peace.
COME, LORD JESUS, COME!
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