Friday, December 4, 2009

Day Ninety - Nine or Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Day 99? Is it possible that I am about to turn the corner of 100 days??? Wow!

Well, miracles never cease. Especially Christmas miracles. Yesterday, we were at my parents' house in Houston and it snowed. Really, it snowed. Now there wasn't enough for my kids to play in but enough to make the day seem like something very, very special. As we prepared to decorate our tree, the falling white fluff drew my children's focus from the television to the window (a miracle in itself!) While the snow stopped before the evening, we were feeling cheered.

I was feeling cheered. Yesterday, I crunched the numbers for the month of December and honestly, it wasn't pretty. I would love for you to believe that at 38, I have a healthy savings account and a solid budget but that would be such a big lie that Santa would not come to our house for years to come. My family and I have had a rough couple of years and we are a paycheck to paycheck family. And my budget got slammed by our car. Oh, the car!!! Stop, Traci. Count your blessings. Okay. I am blessed that we own a car. I am blessed that I had the money to fix the car. But that money. Well, it was Christmas money. So I started out the day a little bummed.

Now I know that Christmas is soooooo much more than monetary things but let's be honest, as parents, there is a joy in showering a children with gifts. I just love to give gifts to everyone, not just my kids. And I was already prepared to be creative. And frugal. But frugal just became miser. So I was a little bummed. Okay, more than a little bummed.

But then the snow fell. And that was miraculous. And I was reminded of the true Christmas miracle. And I realized that I am surrounded by miracles every day. So I was cheered. (Read: I got over myself -- I am not hungry. My children are healthy, dressed, and safe from the elements. I love and I am loved. I have more than millions hope for, so yes, I got over myself!)

So we decorated the tree and shared hot chocolate and sang Christmas Carols. And I counted my blessings and my miracles. Whatever is around the tree, whatever comes down the chimney, whatever is, and whatever will be, I am blessed.


Mama-Face said...

Oh, my heart goes out to you. I just have one tiny deep thought here...I know from experience (though I don't live this very well each year); that it's not the amount of gifts, (yes children will want a few), but that will be enough. What a convoluted thought! It's the thought that counts????
(I won't go into details, but one year I started sort of a tradition of personal letters.)

Hey, my hubs went down to Southern New Mexico yesterday, and there was SNOW. The weird part is that where we live we should have a foot or two by now and we have nothing. Weird.

I loved your recounting of your Christmasy day! :)

Sonya said...

We have a similar family life..we are a pay check to pay check family too..I squeeze the last cent when it comes to shopping for food and everything else. It's hard sometimes to see passed all of that when all you want to do is feel normal for a half second and buy that stupid expensive roast that you've had dreams about...but then I suppose it really doesnt matter. We can still put food on the table, our kids are healthy and they will have gifts to open up..and they look at me and tell me that the thing they remember most about christmas are my sugar cookie trees I bake every year and the big breakfast I serve... and it's then that I always know it could be worse and I need to be thankful for what I have.

There has been no snow here yet and I sure could use some right about now!

Theta Mom said...

There are so many families that live paycheck to paycheck, but I your last paragraph summed it up so well, "Whatever is around the tree, whatever comes down the chimney, whatever is, and whatever will be, I am blessed." Perfectly stated.

Nancy C said...

Thank you for writing this...I've just been feeling bad about having to space out the purchases and using the credit cards to just cover the bases of polite gift giving.

We aren't in that bad of a place, as long as we don't buy extras. And, alas, the holidays are often all about extras.

Anyway, thank you for reminding me of what's important.

Nikia, May and da kids said...

There are many families that live paycheck to paycheck. No biggie. You can count that paycheck as a blessing in these economic times. Your kids will love you no matter what. The past two years we've had to ask our kids what they want and they say they'll let us know. They never get back to us, so we just buy trinkets to laugh at and some things we think they "need", like a guitar and a tambourine for my daughter. She doesn't play. New underwear, ties and white shirts for the boys, so they'll stop stealing dads. No one complains. Everyone that loves you has all they need and want from you. The gifts are just extra.


Alisa: a pina colada said...

“Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest”
OK so it is Sunday, but I'm still sharing the love...and as always, I'm late. I recently had a wake-up call this weekend too. I watched my Tivo from an Oprah show about the book "Half the Sky." Wow! Just living where we do...we are truly blessed. I wrote a little bit about it on my blog Keeping focused on the real purpose of Christmas and life is hard, but so important! Loved your post! Happy holidays.

F said...

I have a funny feeling that Christmas at your house (whereever you are on that day) will be completely wonderful. Amen to the amazingly blessed thing. We should all count our blessings more often. So sorry to hear about the car. Unexpected happens more often than not but poop!

mommakin said...

At almost 10 years your senior, I am in the same financial boat. I have been really obsessing about it and allowing it to bring me down. Your post shook me up a little bit. I need to get over myself.

Great post, Traci!!!

Tracie said...

I'm in the same financial boat. However, Hubs refuses to acknowledge this and every year we are forced to buy expensive things for his entire family - on credit. Thus, further sinking our boat. No wonder I'm such a Grinch.

Traci said...

Thanks, guys. This is why I have come to NEED my blogging. It's almost therapy. I get to give name to my fears, frustrations, etc. and then this faulous group of ladies circle around and buoy me. I don't want to sound corny but there is something very special there.

AudreyO said...

I live in Santa Barbara. It's raining and cold here. They're saying we might see snow tomorrow up in the hills. For us, that's amazing!!

beth said...

it snowed in !

if you want to come up here and play, we're supposed to have a foot of the white stuff dumped on us wednesday :)

I'm so happy you love season of christmas....and thank you for your kind words.....they mean the world to me !

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