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The Mom Grinch

The other day I was feeling especially grinchy. Standing in the kitchen unloading the dishwasher for the tenth time that day, it dawned on me Christmas is only for children...and men. A feeling of bitterness, exhaustion and pressure crept over me as I crammed another sippy cup into the cupboard. It's up to me - the mom - to pull off Christmas. And since my kids are 2 and 4 - well it had better be magical. I wasn't exactly feeling magical. You know, the whole family, just yesterday were in the throws of the stomach flu and I'm pretty sure our elf, Sandy, brought it from the north pole and infected us all with his obnoxious Christmas germs.

So here I am mad at Christmas, because I've discovered December is a month of the year where moms need to put it in overdrive. The normal day to day doesn't go away. Now, I've got to decorate, move that elf, shop, bake cookies, design, address and mail Christmas cards, see Santa... I began to feel even more rotten. Then I uttered, "I hate Christmas." I'm not kidding. I feel terrible admitting it. And then made a side note- "not the Jesus being born part- just everything else."

Now you guys, there is a reason I am making this awful confession to all of you holly jolly people. Because literally the very next day something amazing happened to me. (and maybe some other moms are feeling the same way)

I'm scrolling through my phone on my Facebook news feed, feeling terrible again about how much better other moms are at Christmas than me and seem happy about the whole thing, and I come across a post. My friend's husband mentioned to her he always wanted one of those light up ceramic Christmas villages like he had as a kid. So she went to the Goodwill everyday by her work and found all these Christmas houses and surprised him with a complete village.

Well ... I thought, I like Christmas villages. I had one growing up. I also like thrift stores. I can do this. I can take the kids and find a light up Christmas house or two and it will be fun kind of Christmas treasure hunt. I'm officially stealing my friend's doable not pintrest inspired lovely Christmas idea.

The soundtrack to our drive and parking at our local thrift store consisted of jingle bell rock and me explaining over and over how we are on a special Christmas treasure hunt and this hunt does not include toys in anyway. Fully prepped, the kids holding my hands enter and we are ready to find a beautiful discarded Christmas village home or maybe schoolhouse.

I see the box. It's right by the door - but before I can get to it, an elderly lady has it. Now, although I am a grinch, I am not rude or about to grab things from elderly ladies (especially in front of my children). So here I am standing there completely awkward waiting for her to either take it or leave it. And the kids are not gravitating towards everything breakable and not part of the treasure hunt.

Then she turns and asks me, "Do you want this?"
The box contains a ceramic newsstand for a Christmas village and for some reason (maybe the need to speak with another person over the age of 4 that day) I tell her the whole story about my Christmas treasure hunt for a village and how I'd better get some village homes before a newsstand.

Then, after doing a hot lap with my extremely well behaved children who completely understood we are not buying a toy or anything other than a village, and who followed right next to me and did not jump on the bed for sale or grab at a crystal dinner set, we headed for the door completely feeling excellent about the decision to go here.

Then I heard the woman's voice I had been speaking with earlier. "Excuse me?"
I turn and she's holding a pink piece of paper and a pen up. Her hands are shaking slightly as she asks, "Are you serious about wanting a Christmas village?"

"Yes." Thinking she wants to sell me something. Grinch again.

"Well, write down your name and phone number. I have an entire Christmas village at home packed away with no one left to enjoy it and I would love to give it to you."

....

As I'm writing my name and cell number and thanking her for her generosity, my heart grew three sizes that day.  I explain to my kids in the car what just happened -and they are filled with joy and not concerned at all about the toys we didn't buy.

But, seriously, that moment changed my day. And my Christmas season. Christmas isn't just for children and men. It's for moms too. Christmas is about love and giving. And I needed a real life lesson on that. Because once I got off pinterest and Facebook and stopped stressing over performing the perfect Christmas, I experienced getting a gift from a complete stranger who wanted nothing in return. A real gift.

We ended up picking up the village a few days later and chatting with our new friend. My four year old son and her became fast friends and he invited her to come see our decorations sometime. She invited us to come see her lights.

And now, every time I come into my family room and see my Christmas village glowing with light I am filled with joy and love. I am thankful I do have a full house to enjoy its glowing lights.
And remember the line from the Grinch, "Maybe Christmas...doesn't come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps...means a little bit more."

Merry Christmas! xo


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