I am eleven or twelve
I want to make my mom and dad something special. We all have stockings. They don’t have any. I know I’ll make them the most beautiful Christmas stockings in the whole world. I’ve saved my allowance and have about five dollars. I’m going to the ‘Five and Dime’ to purchase all the items that I will need to make the stockings.
I spend hours looking at all the decorations. I find some plain red and white stockings. I get glitter, bells, holly and bows – the perfect decorations for the perfect stockings. I have just enough money to get what I need – the stockings, glue, green and gold glitter and the other adornments. I purchase all the stocking ingredients and hurry home to my room to create.
With the glue – scissors – glitter – my work is in progress. First, I spell mom and dad on the white furry part at the top of the stockings with the glue. Then I sprinkle the glitter on the glue. WOW! These are going to turn out better than I imagined. Mom and dad will love them and love me for making them. When I’m not working on the stockings, I hide all the stuff under my bed.
My grandmother, NaNa and aunts come to visit. I show my grandmother the stockings. She thinks they are beautiful and encourages me. “You’re so creative and sweet to make them for your parents.” I tell her that I need more stuff to put on the stockings and I don’t have any more money. I can’t ask my Mom for more money because the stockings are a secret. My grandmother gives me some money. When we all go out to do errands, I have the opportunity to secretively buy more decorations for the stockings. They’re turning out so well, better than the ones in the stores. My parents are going to LOVE them!
My mom enters my room unexpectedly and says, “What’s all this mess? You’re making a big mess! I have enough to do with Christmas coming and visitors without all of your mess.” I respond, “Momma, I’m making a Christmas surprise!” She responds, “I don’t care what you are making. Clean up this mess! You’re getting stuff in the carpet and the maid has just left for the day. CLEAN IT UP!”
I’m upset but think to myself, ‘When she sees what I’ve made, she’ll forget all about the mess. The beautiful Christmas stockings will please her so much’.
A few days later after changing, arranging and letting the glue set, the stockings are ready. My grandmother and aunts think they are beautiful.
I run up the stairs to give them to my mother and father. My mother says, “They’re pretty – but your dad and I don’t need stockings. Santa doesn’t visit us and besides there’s nowhere to put them.”
I don’t remember what my dad said. My heart is broken. I had worked so hard. I wanted to please my parents to give them something from my heart. I wanted their love and attention.
I thought the stockings were pretty and that mattered, too. I thought they would look pretty hanging with all the other stockings, but my mother didn’t think they would. She said that it would be too cluttered. My grandmother said that she loved my stockings. Her saying this made me feel better.
I kept the stockings in my room until it was time to pack up the Christmas decorations. Then I stuck them in the boxes with all the other decorations.
Many years later – in a different house, we were getting out Christmas decorations and my mother pulled the stockings out of a box. She said, “These are pretty. Wonder where they came from? Let’s hang them on the fireplace hooks”. I said, “I made them mother. I made them for you and daddy. Don’t you remember?”
She had a blank look on her face. I’m not sure if she even heard me but she did put them on the fireplace hooks. She never said a word about whether she remembered me making the stockings or not. I didn’t want to say anything more about the stockings because it hurt me so deeply that she didn’t even remember that I’d made them.
The stockings are hung up every Christmas and no one remembers where they came from or who made them.
But I do! They were made with all the love I had. When I see them I remember. I remember the little girl and how she loved so much and wanted to please and make her parents a gift from her heart. I love that little girl and hold her in my heart forever.
My mother could not – would not acknowledge my love for her. She did not – could not see or feel the joy and love that I was feeling as I made my gift for her and my dad.
As an adult, I know my mother doesn’t like holidays. She doesn’t like having extra things to do. She can barely get through her day doing ordinary things. Holidays are just an extra bother for her and she can’t wait until they’re over. She dreads putting up a Christmas tree. She is always stressed and angry in the holiday season. She has no joy!
It’s sad to me because I love the holiday season. I love to decorate the house and putting up the Christmas tree is one of the most joyous things I do at Christmas!
One year, many years later during the holiday season, my mother called to say that my father and she were going to their Yacht for Christmas. She stated that she was so glad because she did not have to deal with all the Christmas stuff. She went on and on about how she was so sick of Christmas. Then she asked me what I was going to do for Christmas.
At the time, I did not have the money to even purchase a tree. I wanted a tree badly, but it would have been an extravagance for me to get one that year. I answered my mother by saying, “Not much, perhaps, I’ll spend the day with friends.” She asked, “Are you going to put up a tree?” I replied that I did not have the money for a tree. She either didn’t hear me or she just ignored what I said and asked, “Aren’t you going to lots of parties?” I responded, “Sure there are always lots of parties.”
When I hung up the phone, I cried. I thought isn’t it bizarre that a person who wants a tree so badly, can’t afford one? And some people, who can buy anything they want, think Christmas is a bother and it’s too much trouble to put up a tree.
I do understand that all the decorations and celebrations can get over done and that going away on a Yacht is a nice way to spend Christmas, too.
Another year, after a divorce and I was alone in my house. My ex-husband had moved his grand piano out. I got the biggest Christmas tree that I could find and placed it in the corner where the grand piano once was. It took me days to decorate the tree, pulling a ladder around it the higher I went up to place the ornaments on the tree. After it was completed, it was fabulous! I would turn the lights on and lay under the tree as if I was a child. I cherish this Christmas memory!
I love the holidays, but some negative feelings come up. I don’t like to give gifts to my parents because I never feel that they like what I give them. It feels good to give to them because I love them, but I feel they are critical of whatever it is that I give. They are critical of what I give them just like they are critical of everything about me. My mother is always so full of stress at the holiday season that she can’t enjoy and truly see all the love that is trying to be expressed.
I believe the best thing about Christmas is the love that it gives us for the opportunity to express – the giving of love and remembrance of the birthday of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…
For the gift of awareness leading to healing…