Friday, December 18, 2009

Singin' the Holiday Blues

I'm troubled today. So many things are bothering me and I can't shake them.

The tree at Whole Foods is decorated with little hearts from the kids at the village children's home. Some kids live at the home 24/7, waiting for appropriate foster homes or for their parents to get it together enough to take them back. Others are there because their parents are taking advantage of the sliding scale daycare. Anyway, each heart has a kids' name, age, and Wish List items. Since the children's home is, literally, next door, I always participate by taking an ornament and fulfilling a Christmas wish. Many of the kids ask for gift cards, just as many want expensive items, like video games. But some of them really tug at the heartstrings.

Like Zoe. She's 4, and her only Wish List item was a winter coat. How sad is that! So I went to Old Navy and picked up a little pink coat for her, plus a pair of Dora the Explorer sunglasses, so that she'll feel styling this Christmas. I dropped the gift off at Whole Foods and checked out the tree.

Most of the hearts are gone, which is a good thing. But what about the kids whose hearts are left? Do they simply not get anything at the party next week when the gifts are distributed? I couldn't bear it. So I took another one. Jeremy. He wants is gym shoes. Unfortunately he wears 11 1/2 and I couldn't find shoes in that size. So I got him sweats (his other sizes were listed on the ornament, too) and a minature picture book -- smaller than a playing card, it features Rudolph, Clarice, Hermie, et al.

I dropped Jeremy's gift off at Whole Foods and on the way out I picked up Neil's heart. He's 8 and only asked for one thing -- pajamas. Oh, break my heart! So I got him the sale pajamas from Old Navy and a long-sleeved Spiderman t-shirt. And a Disney tie-in book based on their 3-D Christmas Carol, which has a very scary Marley Ghost on the cover. I know little boys like gory creepy things, as long as they're not too gory or creepy. I will drop Neil's gift off Saturday or Sunday.

I have to stop doing this. It doesn't make me happy, it makes me ever-more sad because I realize how bottomless the need is, and how limited my resources are -- or should be. I mean, I really can't afford to keep doing this.

But what about the kids whose hearts aren't chosen? Will they be mad or sad or confused at the children's home Christmas party when the gifts are distributed? I'm sure the staff is prepared for this, but still, this situation forcefully reminds me that many people won't have a Merry Christmas.

And I almost wish my best friend hadn't come in last week, because now I miss him so much. Plus, I learned something disturbing. Regular readers know he often just slides under the radar and goes incommunicado. The other night we had a heart-to-heart talk about this, and the reason really saddened me. His wife feels we are "inappropriate," and, in his words, she "wonders why I tell you things and not her." So he takes care not to call me when she can hear and not to touch base with me every day, because she asked him not to. He loves her, she is his wife, and I agree that we have to respect her feelings. Here I am, fat and 50. (OK, 52.) It never occurred to me that I would really be making a beautiful 42 year old uncomfortable. But I am. I realize this is serious and important. It's his marriage -- and I have no place in it. But this all makes me so sad.

So right now I'm not feeling so holly-jolly about this Christmas. And damn, I wish Cubs baseball was year-round.


  1. aww, bless your heart for taking this childs dreams and making them come true, as for the hearts that dont get choosen I dont know what happens, when I was in highschool and I was in FBLA we used to take the remainder and go buy all those kids gifts, I am sure they are taken care of! Secondly it sucks that you cant have a better friendship with someone because of their jealous wife. Its never about age and looks either, so dont say you are fat and 52 like that is suppose to make you any less attractive or a threat, she probably feels threatened taht he can confide in you and you are a good friend to him, its sad she cant just leave it at that and let you guys enjoyr your frienship....

  2. Gal, God is so happy with your generous heart. Many of us are all wrapped up in our own little world and fell to see the needs of other. I confess I am one of them.
    About your friend….it is sad to know others can’t trust the judgment of their spouse. Society has not been kind to us. Sometimes we just have to take what we can…as painful as it is.

  3. The Angel Tree gift I selected was a heart-breaker, too.

    And it's sad that your bestie's wife is insecure.


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