Giving-my lesson


When I was about six, my parents bought me this awesome puffy light pink Strawberry Shortcake winter coat.  I loved it.  I think this was around the same time as freaky freeze gloves- but I’m probably off on my years, because I’m bad about things running together.  Anyway, I was so proud of this coat and so excited about this coat.  It was right near Thanksgiving time.  My dad worked at a bar and so did my mom.  So somehow my dad was talking to a guy in his bar with a family who had no dinner for Thanksgiving and no coat for his kid. Now mind you as an adult, I find it totally ironic that the dad had enough $ to  be out drinking and that here he was telling my dad his sob story instead of being at home with his family.  Well somehow my dad decided we were going to make Thanksgiving dinner right for this guy.  So we gave him our turkey and a canned ham and my parents gave him my coat for his little girl.  I was devasted and angry. I was six, I didn’t understand giving.  But that stuck with me and years later I got a feeling inside about how special this was and how awesome and amazing it made you feel to give.  To know that there are people in this world who need something more than you do.  My parents were not rich.  My mom worked 3 jobs, my dad worked sometimes and they gave this coat away and got me another one.  We still had dinner of turkey at my grandmothers house.  And we all sat around and laughed and played games and had an awesome holiday, I’m sure.  At that age holidays kind of blend together, but I know there was love and warmth in that room and that house.  My parents did not teach me much, but they taught me generosity and compassion for others in that one act that my dad did almost 30 years ago.  It wasn’t many years after that we would stop being a family.  My parents would divorce and everything became complicated new people came into the mix, other relatives left and things were still fun but it was never like those holidays I remember when I was really young.  I am now a grown adult, who was part of a whole generation of kids whose parents divorced when they were younger and I have a family of my own and I still long for and cling to those dinners where I know whole families will be.  I will never get that again and I try to have it with my kids, but my in-laws aren’t in this country and my parents and their spouses to me do not constitute a family. I have 2 friends who have a standing reservation for Sunday dinner at their moms homes- how cool is that?  I mean my heart actually twinged with jealously when I learned that.  So I will keep jumping to celebrate with other families to try to give my kids a taste of what I remember and I will try to teach my kids how important it is to help others above all else.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Are your parents divorced? How does that make you react to the holidays?

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