Click here to hear Gail read her letter to you!
My Dear Holiday Child,
Thank you for being the perfect Holiday gift to me this year!
I’m not a mom myself, but I love and cherish all children; my nieces and nephews, my friends’ children and my neighbor children. Some are grown up now with children of their own. I feel blessed whenever any person comes into my life. All beings are special and worthy of love. As are you.
There are times in everyone’s life when we feel we are different or not enough. Well let me tell you, that you are just fine and you are enough. I don’t ascribe to labels. Every person has feelings. Every soul that has walked on this planet has felt emotion. Everyone loves. It doesn’t matter to me if you are Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer or straight, a cat lover or a tuba player, you have the ability and right to love and to laugh.
Some people do have a little trouble letting go of biases from their upbringings. Our job is to just be ourselves and love them. If you are missing your mom for whatever reason this holiday season, I want you to know that I care. If we let go of our own fears and biases and just put love and joy out, the joy will reflect back to us. Laughing is the way to a joyful heart. So here is a story for the two of us. One I hope gives you a chuckle.
This is a story of what it was like growing up in a family of 9 around the Christmas Holiday. It centers on the Nativity Scene we always placed atop our piano.
Being obviously geographically challenged, the children rolled out the cotton “snow” across the piano top and placed numerous pine trees around the setting. It looked just like Montana, but perhaps not quite Bethlehem! I, in my 8 yr old mind as a major scene designer and director, would often place one of my younger siblings’ stuffed toys under that snow to create mountains. This would naturally illicit wails of protest and my Dad having to say, “Gail, give the elephant back to your sister, we don’t need mountains in Bethlehem”. But one by one we ceremoniously unwrapped the precious little figurines and placed them just so at the manger. Now of course the Baby Jesus had to live in a tea cup high up in the china cabinet away from tiny hands until his arrival Christmas morning.
My biggest joy was rearranging the figurines on a daily basis. Sheep would wander, Shepherds would trail after them. The Kings would jostle for front position. Sometime Melchior would go hang out with the Shepherds because he and Casper were not getting along! Mary, being the only almost mom there would have to send them in different directions until they could “speak to each other in a civil manner”.
Sometimes the figurines would be laying down with some pieces of fabric over them, resting. People have to get their sleep you know!
One day, my father asked me what had happened to Mary. How he knew I was the cause of her mysterious disappearance, I’ll never know! “Dad, Mary had to pee”, I replied in a forthright nature. “She what?”, my Dad responded. “Well, she’s been sitting there for 4 days waiting to have a baby, Dad! She had to go!”, I offered. Hesitantly, and certainly worried about the answer, my father asked, “And where did she go?” “Behind the pine tree Dad!” I whispered with obvious indignation. “Look at all the boys!” “Well, uh, put her back ok?”, his voice wearily responded.
Later that day, my father would again come to me and ask just why was Mary now in a bowl of water inserted into the cotton snow? “She had to wash her hands Dad! There’s no sink. She’s at the pond”. Goodness gracious, how my father got to be a grown up man and that clueless was certainly beyond me! Luckily at that point one brother was tormenting one sister and my dad had to go do policing duties and leave me alone in Montana, Bethlehem.
I think growing up with a lot of family and one bathroom made me a bit preoccupied with the call of nature. Pounding furiously on the bathroom door to get in was a common occurrence at our house. So naturally I felt it proactive to get my brother’s Lincoln Logs and build a few more structures to that Nativity scene on the piano. “Let me guess, my Dad wagered, outhouses?” Well, finally my father the engineer was showing a modicum of intelligence! “Yes, His and Hers”, I proudly exclaimed! “But do Angels pee, Dad?”
Christmas Eve arrived and after our tradition of unwrapping one gift, which somehow always turned out to be new pajamas, my father bellowed from across the room, “Gail, where is the Baby Jesus?” Now really, there were 7 other people who lived in that house, how did he KNOW I had taken it? His powers were truly super human. “Dad, the baby was cold. He’s in the doll house bed. God can’t sit in a tea cup you know!” , I said rather too forcefully. Thankfully, “Mmmmmm,” was the only answer to that one he had.
And the next morning when we awakened, Baby Jesus was rightfully in the manger by his mother’s side. Joseph was looking on proudly. The 3 Kings were getting along and presenting their gifts and all the Shepherds and animals had come by way of the blue Christmas light star above the manger. And the Angel smiled.
As the Holiday season approaches, whatever you are doing, wherever you are, you can read my story and smile, and I’ll read it and think of you. We will both laugh and that laughter will connect us.
Give yourself two hugs, one from you and one from me.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha