Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas Crash!

The rare Tuesday post in The Monday Motivator...

There we were, it was Christmas Day night, the cleanup had begun and the tree taken down. It was dropping too many needles and Gunner didn't help with his tail-of-mass-destruction taking out ornaments that seemed too high for him to reach. Amidst all the unwrapped presents, a full belly from a delicious Christmas dinner, and snuggled up in our warm house - here was Mason long faced and looking forlorn. I sat to talk with him and he expressed his disappointment that he didn't get anything on his Christmas list and not even a single video game. I shared with him a bit about what Christmas really means and when you get right down to it, it has nothing at all to do with gifts. I recalled a Christmas past. 

I was in my early twenties and out on my own, living in a suburb of Sacramento. I had a job at a local grocery store and was getting by, barely. I could pay my rent, utilities, car payment, and put food on the table but that was about it. Christmas was a luxury I could not afford that year. My apartment was not decorated and I was anticipating arriving home to a whole lot of nothing. Driving home from work on Christmas Eve, I saw a tree lot selling the remaining trees for one dollar each. I pulled in and got a tree Charlie Brown would be proud of. The lot attendant felt pity on me and didn’t even charge me the dollar. I brought that tree home and left it on the wooden cross nailed in the trunk, placed it on a table and wrapped a bath towel around the base for the tree skirt. I had a box of Christmas stuff from when I moved out of my parents house so I had a strand of lights, and a handful of ornaments I made in high school. I made some top ramen, added leftover chicken and some green onions and sat in the living room listening to Christmas music on the radio, and enjoying the lights on my little tree. That was it, that was the extent of my festivities that year. It wasn’t much, but it was more than I thought I was going to have, it was enough.

Back to the living room with Mason, I shared this story with him. It is a true story and I tried to impress upon him that you cannot always get every thing you want, and there will be times when it will be lean and you just have to make the best of it. He's heard me say it many times, "Money comes and money goes, but the real wealth is with the people in your life and your ability to see the bright side." You see, Mason was on the post-Christmas let down. He likely had more presents to open than the rest of us combined, he got some cool and thoughtful gifts that he was happy about, but he didn’t get a couple of things he really wanted. Maybe it was all the sugar he consumed through the day, but come nighttime, he sat on the sofa pouting and crying that he didn’t even get a single video game. Here's the kicker, he hadn’t even told me what he wanted until everything was already purchased, being wrapped, and our money already spent.

As we've said (sang) to him nearly his whole life, "You can’t always get what you want, but if you try some times, you just might find, you get what you need." Mason is not wanting for anything, in fact he probably has too much. That is our fault, but mostly Dave, who spoils him and then when he doesn’t get what he wants, he is left feeling let down. The "Dave's fault" is printed with his permission and even agreement. Mason will go through some tough times as he leaves our nest and is on his own. He will miss the family decorations, traditional Christmas dinners, holiday movies that we’ve seen hundreds of times, and spending time with family who loves him. Maybe he will get lucky some Christmas Eve and find that dollar tree lot and remember how good it used to be. I’d rather instill in him now that doing good in school, getting into the college he wants to go to, getting a good job, and working hard will make his holidays that much better. Time will tell. 

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