Where I grew up in Tulsa, on the street where I lived, my next-door neighbor was a little old lady named Mrs.Thomas. Although she was white haired, frail, and hard of hearing, her home was very much alive. She was the mother of ten, and Grandmother to many, including children like me whom she invited over in the summer to use her pool that was old and cracked, surrounded by overgrown bushes, and filled with frog eggs, but nonetheless a delight to young naturalists, and in the winter she must have welcomed us as well, because I can remember sitting in her living room with wide eyes gazing at her Christmas tree surrounded by mountains of colorful, ribboned gifts. I decided in those visits, that I would have ten children as well. It wasn't a desire for what was inside the boxes that convinced me, but the beautiful scene that their colors created as the lay nestled next to each other, stacked in seemingly endless connection.
Now December 26 is possibly the most difficult day of the year because that is the nature of being so abundantly blessed. Where to put things, and how to respond to all the newness, and take ownership? The boxes are opened and what was inside comes out with it's own demands and all of it's wrappings must be attended to as well. Like any responsibility, inevitably comes the need to remind oneself that this new chore is what comes with the blessing of this new connection.
But I do wake up aware that I have completed something. My single mom Santa hat can now be boxed away with the lights and paper ornaments...quickly as the branches are dry ,and the tree must go out before it goes up like an incendiary,and now to take control of all the wonderful gifts that surround me, to clear away the wrapping, so I can focus on finding a new focus.
This was Christmas morning. Some of this was the single mom Santa, but most was the responsibility of our extreme home teachers who snuck into the house Saturday evening left colorful boxes filled with sweaters and boots, pants, socks, DVDs, toys. They did the dishes, vacuumed the rug, and left the glass on the fireplace open, so Grant looked in and said he swore he could see Santa's foot prints.
Saturday evening they had asked me to have the kids out of the house, so I drove them to the McDonald's in Springville. We brought the girls' friends and sang Christmas carols as we drove along Springville highway, singing in what Kyle called our "lower class British accent." I am grateful for that memory.