Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Holiday frenzy and reflection

At this time of year, it's really easy to lose perspective on what is truly important. We get into this buying frenzy, and there goes our reason, our sanity, and sometimes our compassion (we've all either been that person or have seen that kind of person, admit it). Princess is getting a lot of nice things. I tend to go overboard, because she's my one and only and also because her Birthday is the day after Christmas. I was looking at digital cameras for her, she likes to take pictures and I thought that would be nice. I was looking at the cameras under 100 dollars, and read some reviews on them. Most of the cameras in that price range seem to have problems one way or the other. So I thought well if I spend 20 dollars more I could get her a better one......Then it hit me. SHE'S 4 GOING ON 5 PEOPLE!!!! What kind of a nut am I??? I'm going to buy my 5 year old a camera I would be afraid of her dropping??? She has a perfectly good 35 millimeter camera, ok so she can't preview her pics, but seriously, at 5 she's going to understand that??? I got so caught up in the buying frenzy I lost my sanity for a while. I forget that I have a responsibility to teach my daughter there is more to this season than getting presents. I should be teaching her to love herself and others. That happiness is NOT found in a prettily wrapped box.
I feel I redeemed myself a bit the other day though. I was at the grocery store, and in front of me in the checkout line was a woman who was obviously on disability and also obviously very poor. She had a small amount of groceries, most of it the staples you need in your house. Nothing extravagant or indulgent. She gave her EBT card to the cashier (for those of you who don't know, it's a card the state gives you now instead of food stamps) and was told that the balance on the card was only 8 dollars and change. She looked embarrassed, and said she would have to put a lot of what she bought back. I asked what the amount was, it came to about 24 and change. I paid for the rest of her groceries. 25 dollars will not break me, but it will make a difference in whether this woman eats this week or not.
When I was pregnant with Princess, I was put on bed rest. I work as a hair colorist, and in our business there are few salons that offer any benefits, so I don't work, I don't get paid. I had high blood pressure during the last trimester so standing all day on my feet was not something I could do. I had to go to the state to ask for assistance. Short term assistance to be sure, but I needed it at the time. It killed me a bit inside to have to do that, I have always supported myself, and here I was unable to do it at the time. After I went there and found out that yes I could have food stamps and money for household expenses, I left crying my eyes out. My pride had been badly bruised. I saw myself as a welfare mom. Needless to say, I was feeling very low. Then I got home, and I thought about it. OK I said, you need this now, but you won't need it forever. You pay into the system, and if you need help, the system can support you for a while. It's no different than having family and friends help you. The state was wonderful to me, as were my friends and family. I remembered those days as I paid for that woman's groceries. What they give you in food stamps hardly covers a whole month. If you scrimp on what you buy and buy cheap, you MAY be able to make it to the end of the month, but it's hard. If it weren't for the state and my friends, I wouldn't have made it through that Christmas pregnant and on bed rest. All of that went through my mind in a split second. It seemed the right thing to do.
If any of you are feeling pressured this holiday season, or short of time and patience, do something nice for someone. For what that deed will cost, it will pay back immeasurably in how you feel about yourself and the season. Remember those who have not, because at any time, for whatever reason, we could be the ones who have not. I was for a while.

• Posted By Crazy Single Mom @ 9:37 PM
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