#Holiday - #Contest - 'Twas the Night Before... - Entry 01

#Holiday - #Contest - 'Twas the Night Before... - Entry 01

Ansley Ansley
It’s A Wagon! It’s A Wagon!

My husband and I were not blessed with children when we were first married. We were 26 when we finally got pregnant with our first daughter so we were very indulgent parents; if not particularly wealthy.

The year our daughter turned 2 was a rough one. We were on a shoestring budget and busy digging ourselves out of a financial hole when I wrecked our car. We struggled to pay the insurance company for the repairs. When we couldn't we had to return the car and declare bankruptcy. It was not a pleasant time, but we were hopeful and, with 2 little girls, too busy to really stop to take notice of how bad we had it.

That year we were given an amazing gift by our landlord, who to this day remains the best one we have ever had. He knew how bad off we were and he told us that no child was going to go without Christmas if he could do anything about it. He gave us our rent money that month and wished us well. We immediately went out and bought a tree plus some gifts for the girls. It was rough because we had to walk a half mile one way to the store, but we were feeling like good parents and so damn proud of ourselves!

We put the tree up just before our own holiday of Yule and it was pretty darn spectacular. The gifts; though few in number, were brightly wrapped and fascinated our little girls. The night before Yule Sigel and I sat in the kitchen talking freely about when we should allow our daughters to open their gifts. The baby was chortling to herself in her punkin’ seat and Ocoee was giggling to herself in the other room. She was watching the blinking lights on the tree and poking the presents gently. She had been so very good that we trusted her to be alone with the wealth!

We had a major problem. My husband and I had been professed pagans for many years prior to our children’s births, but my parents were Christian enough to want to spend Christmas with the kids. They were very controlling about the issue and my husband and I didn't want to start strife during this holiday season. The thing was we also wanted our own traditions and stuff! So there we sat with our beautiful, and hard fought, victory in our hands feeling like we were losing something very important to us as a family.
I think we drank two pots of coffee that night while we gently discussed what to do. I remember saying, “ Wouldn't it be nice for us to have our own celebrations with the girls before we share this moment with the rest of our family? Couldn't we just let them open all but one or two gifts on Yule and then take the rest to Mom and Dad’s house on Christmas?” Sigel cleared his throat softly while he mulled over the idea and then said softly, “I think I’d like that…” His voice trailed off as we heard a tiny giggle and a, “Oh goody!” from the other room. We smiled and went on talking for a few minutes.

Now, I have no idea how she did it because we heard nothing suspicious from the other room until Ocoee began to clap her hands and chant, “It’s a wagon! It’s a wagon!” We had bought her a red radio flyer metal wagon and a smaller replica for her dolls that year and it was her “big” gift. It was an expensive little red wagon!

We sat there sort of blinking at each other before we went into the living room to see what was up. Our little waif was standing there, bathed in twinkling tree lights, with this angelic smile on her very, very happy face. Around her was the wrapping paper from every gift under the tree and she was pointing at the wagon like it was single handedly the most exciting thing she had ever seen. We stood there grinning like besotted parents and basking in her reflected joy.

We heard later from other parents that we should have scolded her for “ruining” Christmas, but for us she not only made that the best Yule ever, but she also set the stage for what has become our very own family tradition. I will never forget the absolute joy that shone from her little face. For me it represented everything that we strive for as parents. My little girl taught me what the Yule spirit is about that year: remembering those who aren't here and sharing joy with those who are.

We still have that silly little red wagon!
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Mistress Dragon Mistress Dragon
I remember trying so hard on some of our first Christmas holidays. My two children have learned from being in a low income, or even single mother family, for a long time that you get what SANTA can bring and be happy you got something because there are some children that never get a gift. I had one year that I had a REAL SANTA leave stuff on our porch for me and both my children. That year was the first after I had lost my husband and was trying to raise them on min. wage. Without those things my children had only things I had made for them from stuff we already had. I will never forget and always say thank you for that year. I try each year to help someone in the same place I have been to make their year better. I am very thankful for the husband and family as well as friends that I have in my life.
Family is not always blood remember that in your heart is where family lives.
winterseve winterseve
That was an amazing story. Made my heart melt. My daughter is 12 weeks and I was just imagining what it'd be like to have been in your shoes. My hubby and I are going through a similar situation to yours so it's just the thing to make me smile.
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