For the first time in 10 years I did Christmas cards. This is the letter I sent out. Sorta, I jacked it up for the blog.
The mother in law still hated it. WINNING!
Here it is:
I do not like the obligatory end of the year letter, I find them braggy, boring and a bit self involved
I think they are kind of stupid to be honest.
We have loved ones who do not have the right to marry because of the gender of the one they love.
We lost too many loved ones to cancer.
We watched in horror as schools and theatres were shot to hell by untreated mentally ill young men.
People bombed innocent runners in the name of G*d
We mourned Oregon solders and Cops who gave their lives in service to their country and community.
What is there to brag about?
But people do want to know things, like
“How are the children doing Blue Berry?”
They are great!
The Buddha is taller than me now. He will be 15 in Jan. and is looking forward to going to Portland Waldorf High School in the fall.
The Rock-star is 12 and a gamer. He is a fine artist and is excellent at rolling his eyes at his parents.
Princess Pantalette is 6 and in Kindergarten and thriving.
University will have to wait for me, because the boys need braces.
So there is your family update.
My mother would tell her friends that the Blueberry’s are “private school poor” and she was right, after paying tuition, (even with help that we get from the school) rent, and other bills what we end up having left to live on is, to tell the truth, very little.
Like under the poverty line little.
We have needed to accept monetary help from our religious community to pay rent and to eat.
The first week of December, for the oh, I don’t know, maybe 50th time, I went to the to the Clackamas County food bank. I took the Princess with me, as I often do.
But this time, for the first time, I went to get food instead of give.
We had none and something like $5 in the bank and 10 days away from payday.
It was so humiliating. and a blessing, the woman there said to me as I wept in the office;
“Hun, it is just your turn”
I had so many feelings,
Soon I would have a box of food to take home! bread, veggies Even MEAT! and a really yummy pie. From Whole Foods even!
I felt so guilty. What if I was talking a box of food from another family? that needed it more? to be fair, I could feed the kids pasta every night. or rice and beans.
I feel guilty because there is food in that box that I would not feed my children. Some of the food, went right back in a box to be donated to HOPE food pantry.
But I take it home. With gratitude and we eat.
But then something happened that changed my view.
A true story:
On December 2 as I drove to Portland Waldorf School to pick up the children, I pondered what I was going to write in this letter. I thought about how hard we work to keep our children at PWS. and sort of feeling sorry for myself, when I saw a young man at the side of the off ramp.
He was young, maybe 18 at the most. he was holding a sign. I do not know what the sign said. but I saw that he was shivering, it was very cold today, I do not know if it got above 39. He just had a light jacket on, it was a very thin hoodie.
He was so so cold. I pulled over, got out of my car walked over to him and gave him my new to me coat and my hat. At first he would not take it. but I put on my “momma” voice and told him he was taking it and putting it ON! I told him I would not let him “take my blessing away and he would take the coat.” he just kept thanking me. He was, I am sure a drug addict. from the look of his skin, I would guess meth.
But he still deserved a coat to stay warm! No matter what a person has done everyone has right to be warm and to have a safe warm place to lay their heads at night. I did not have cash to give him. I did not even have a granola bar. so I gave him what I could, my coat. and told him with my hand on his shoulder and looking into his eyes. “I hope things get better for you” he replied “G*d bless you”
I got back in my car and burst into tears. that poor boy is someone’s son. my heart broke for his mother, who must stay up at night worried about her boy, more so, he is a child of G*d. I cried for all the young homeless in and around Portland.
My children are safe, they sleep in a safe, warm, home, they have food in their tummies and parents who are clean and sober. They will NOT go hungry and we will stay at PWS.
So yeah, we have struggled this year. a lot. Santa is coming with help from friends. We live in a small 2 bedroom 1 bath apt. We drive shit cars, but they are paid for. We have (finally) good health insurance. We are so so blessed. So blessed. We have a community that is wonderful and supportive and generous so generous both from our faith community and our school community.
G*d is good!
I learned this month that we are okay. We have friends who have so much less. Even people we know and love.
We have no less than 5 friends who are dying of cancer.
I have friends who are in horrible, debilitating pain ever day.
Every day. With no hope in sight.
We are all healthy.
Our children all have friends who have buried a mother or a father.
We have friends whose marriages have broken up.
Our family is intact.
Here is the lesson:
If you drive by someone who is asking for help. And you will, they are everywhere. Toss them a buck. It might just be an angel sent to remind you how very much you have. It might even be G*d himself!
No mater what, that person is someone child. someones sibling. and most important.
That person is a child of the Divine.
Even if they do drugs or alcoholic or mentally ill.
Especially if they are mentally ill!
I’ll jump off my soapbox now, it’s not very Christmassy, is it?. Sorry!
So now I wish you a Blessed Solstice, a Merry Christmas,
And may this New Year bring love and light and joy and
For Fuck sake, health and Peace!
Amen and may it be so.
PS. I got another new to me coat!