Times are hard for many young individuals, business owners, single parent families, married families, all families in general, our veterans, and the elderly. A lot of people are struggling, and that doesn’t always mean financially. It can be loneliness that they are struggling with, and that feeling is the absolute worst thing anyone could feel. If there is a gift worth giving, it’s your time. We encourage you to stop, take a day or two and find a local food kitchen and volunteer. Pick a local organization that helps get unexpected gifts to unfortunate children. Donate a gift or help deliver them when the time comes. I promise you won’t have to look very hard or go very far. I know it will make a difference and here’s my story as to why I believe it to be true. Maybe some of you out there will be able to relate and there is no shame in it. If you can’t relate there is no shame in that either.
As kids growing up, we didn’t know we were poor… (insert record scratching noise) Wait! Yes, YES, WE DID! – lol We lived in subsidized housing, we had no car, we had to walk or take the bus everywhere, we grocery shopped once a month with paper food stamps (I can still remember their texture in my fingertips), we stood in line to get free “generic” food when we ran low, we never had the trendiest clothes, eating at a restaurant may have happened once a year, and income was most definitely dictating our lifestyle. Yeah, we got bullied for being poor at school so yeah, we knew. Still, we were raised to be respectful and to be tough. Being raised by a single mother and by Sunday school, we were taught to turn the other cheek and the occasional neighborhood bully would have to be taught to not to mess with those Calles kids. Yeah, we got that from mom. Nobody messed with mom. So, even though we knew we were poor we were taken care of. We had clean clothes, there was food on the table, and we had a roof over our heads.
Now, going back to donating and volunteering, I can remember the weeks and long days leading up to Christmas very well. Going on Christmas break from school, going places and seeing presents under trees. Taking the time to circle what we were wishing for in the JC Penney and Sears Christmas catalogs and leaving them in plain sight for everyone to see. Yes, we really did that. They were called “wish books” for a reason, right? Honestly, we weren’t really raised to believe in Santa, but we knew that you had to be good if you were expecting a gift during Christmas and somehow, we knew Christmas was coming. We knew we would wake up to the smell of a large breakfast cooking and a present to open in the morning. You see, Christmas always found a way because of our immediate family, our church families, and places like the Salvation Army. I can clearly remember coming around the corner one Christmas Eve to see the boys in blue standing there, holding large black garbage bags open in our kitchen with my mom. At first, I thought something was wrong as my eyes widened, but they were the ones frozen as my mom told me to go back to bed. I can remember my mom saying I think they will like these as I turned and walked away. Morning couldn’t come fast enough!
Now, I’ve shared some other “how poor we were” stories with my kids and not to make them feel guilty, but to feel blessed to look back. Most of the time it is to make a joke with my youngest to make lighthearted conversation, but my oldest kids that are out of the house on their own are most likely feeling the pinch now in their own way. Especially, my oldest daughter and soon to be stepson who now have children of their own. So, give and continue to give. Arguably we are getting ready to celebrate the final holiday of the year. For us, it’s Christmas. For others it could be something a little different, but most end up with the same outcome if they are lucky. Spending time with loved ones, family, and friends. And remembering our loved ones we’ve lost. According to the great “Google” there are 14 religious holidays listed for the month of December. So, whatever your reason for the season is, we hope that it’s the best one yet.
Thank you, mom… we love you.
Merry Christmas everyone!!