Tonight my hubby, the kids, and I will put up our Christmas tree and bake cookies and listen to Christmas music... and I'll cry a little bit with happiness and a little bit with sadness.
I cry because every year I always remember one of our earlier Christmases as a family...
The boys were little toddlers and our daughter wasn't even a thought yet. We were so poor that I didn't think we'd be able to afford a tree that year. I cried and begged my husband to please figure out a way to get us a tree... I wanted our boys to wake up with their meager presents under a decorated Christmas tree.
My poor husband had the weight of supporting three people upon his (sexy) shoulders and he worked as hard as he could to make sure we didn't go without... So I can't imagine how horrible he felt about not even being able to get us a tree.
Milk & bread... or a Christmas tree? That was the decision he had to make.
My husband was determined to make me happy... so on Christmas Eve, at around 8:00 PM, he ventured out with our last $10 in his pocket.
He drove all over town trying to find something, but it seemed every Christmas tree place had closed down for the year... He was sure he was going to have to come home empty handed and he dreaded it.
Luck seemed to strike though... On the way home he came upon a tree place and noticed someone was still there, standing around a bonfire. Feeling very much relieved he pulled on in.
It turns out the guy wasn't trying to keep warm while selling the last of his trees, he was burning the last of them to get rid of them... and he was about to throw the very last one onto the burning pile.
My husband explained his hopeless situation and asked the guy if he could please have the tree since he was throwing it out anyway. But the guy, quick to make a buck, told him he couldn't do that and that my husband would have to pay for that sad little Charlie Brown looking Christmas tree if he wanted it.
So, after much haggling, my dear husband parted with our last $10 and came home with a Christmas tree. Our children woke up to presents under a decorated tree. They never knew how much we struggled because we made sure they didn't.
I think we left the tree up till almost Valentines Day that year....
So you see, when you see me constantly writing about how wonderful everything is and how grateful I am for every teeny tiny little thing, it's not to brag... It's because we've been at the very bottom in life. And when you've been that low, every single blessing in your life is tremendously magnified. Life feels fuller and the meaning in every (seemingly) little thing is so much deeper. The good shines brighter than the sun, and there's no ignoring that.
So if you're lucky enough to have a Christmas tree... or food, or shelter.... really if you have anything at all, count your blessings. And if right now you have absolutely nothing, know that one day you will be more prosperous than you are today... and it will be all the more beautiful because of it.