Saturday, December 17, 2005

...the rest of the story.

I wrote about putting our car in the shop for major electrical repairs because of a cracked lead-acid battery. Well, the repairs were expensive. Most of the wiring had to be rebuilt by hand. The shop took several days to accomplish the work, so we were without a car over Thanksgiving. I could live with that since I rely on my bike for transportation, and we live within walking distance of the grocery store.

But the expense put a huge hole in our budget. Huge. I am not exaggerating. It wasn’t wolves-at-the-door threatening, and we won’t lose the house or have our water and electricity turned off. But it forced us to cut out all non-essentials.

Mary and I are accustomed to giving as generously as possible to our children at Christmas. I think most parents are, within reason. And although we’ve never been able to give them everything they desired, they’ve never had a lean, mean Christmas – until now. This year, we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree.

And that broke my heart.

I was deeply depressed about it. I felt like a failure as a husband and father. My heart was a leaden lump in the center of my chest.

Mary and I have had harder times at Christmas. We had almost nothing when we moved to Oklahoma. Many years ago, on our first Christmas here, we decorated a table lamp because we couldn’t get a tree. We were saving money for the imminent birth of our daughter. Even before she was born, our baby came first. It was no different when the second one arrived.

So imagine our surprise today when our ‘babies’ arrived in the driveway with a Christmas tree in the trunk of the car! Our two teenagers picked it out at the local tree farm and bought it with their own money. I stood on the front porch, hugging my daughter and quietly sobbing on her shoulder.

They’re good kids. The best, in fact, and I couldn’t be prouder of the two of them than I am right now. We’ve been giving to them all their lives, and they’ve obviously learned something because they’re giving back.

Christmas is about family, and my family has a gift this year that is beyond price, beyond measure.


Blogger Fritz said...

That's heartwarming, Ed. Thanks for the story.

10:59 PM  
Blogger George said...

Reading your post made my day.

5:02 AM  
Blogger bikefridaywalter said...

here's something else to warm you up, too. ever since i became a father, christmas has been infitely more meaningful:

12:49 PM  
Blogger the old bag said...

Touching -- thanks for this.

9:53 PM  

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