Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Christmas Book.

No, no. Nothing cheery and holiday'ish that I've written. The NEIMAN MARCUS Christmas book. This year I'm supposed to be impressed with a huge, $40,000 skyscraper made entirely from pencils. Thanks, if I want lead poisoning I can just lick the wall in my folks old house. No need to drop $40K on it. How about that $100K water park for your backyard. Someone alert the homeowners association of a major infraction that could occur in Ashbrooke, my old neighborhood in Ohio. We spent the better part of a year there debating the scourge of satellite dishes and horror of all horrors, FENCES! I don't have a homeowners association any longer -- hell, I can paint my front door with purple and green stripes without some Yukon driver do-gooder huffing and puffing her way to my front door to file a complaint. Such freedom.

But I digress. The CHRISTMAS BOOK arriving in my mailbox really does mean something to me. You see, two years ago, as Christmas approached, my sweet husband was out of work. Ran a big European company and got let go by EMAIL one Friday morning. Auf Weidersehen! And then they never called him. But don't get me started on the Germans, cause I really do like beer and Rutger Hauer.

So, we had no job and frankly, autism sucks out every last penny you've ever had. Certainly got ours. So that year we were in a tight financial spot. Someone, I don't know who, told our church that we were having a rough time of it. We were still eating, drinking and trying to be merry, but we were struggling. So I got a call from the head of the holiday giving tree telling me I was to show up at Church on a Saturday to pick up my giving tree goodies. Wha-Hut? Yes, we had been assigned a number and were a "family in need" at our church.

At first, second and third I was completely mortified and horrified. That Saturday arrived and I did not go to the church. My phone rang and it was Kelly S. "WHERE ARE YOU KIM?" "Not coming, Kelly, give the stuff to another family." "I'm coming to your house, Kim. Get over here." (Note to self, send Kelly to N. Korea to chat with folks about nukes.) I got into my $36,000 minivan and drove to my church to pick up my charity. With a leaden heart and a pit in my stomach. I GIVE to the tree, I don't GET from it, right?

I thanked everyone, and loaded my minivan to the brim. I mean I've never seen so much stuff. A wreath for our door (we had one) food, household supplies, wrapped gifts, envelopes with gift certificates for movies, dinner and the one thing that made Mark and me laugh like hell. About 36 bars of ZEST soap. Do well off people think not so well off people don't bathe? We're still using the soap, 22 months later!

I sat down and looked at everything we had been given. And at my beautiful girls, who, while laden with issues related to their autism, are healthy and well and at my husband who was working so hard to find a job I felt a bit like the Grinch when his heart grows right out of his chest. I learned to ACCEPT that Christmas. Accept help. Accept kindness. Maybe even come out of my "I can do it myself" mode for just a moment or two. And it felt kind of good. Far better than receiving any item in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog for sure.



LaShaunda said...


Why is accepting blessings so hard for us? I love blessing someone else, but when it comes to me I think it should go to the next person.

Thank goodness we have a friend who feels we deserve blessings too.

Don't block your blessings. It's a hard lesson to learn. I'm working on it though.

I've never seen a NM Christmas book.

JuliePozda said...

So is this why whenever anyone asks me, "What Can I Help You With?" I always say, "Oh nothing, I'm just fine" even when I'm scrambling to do 10 things at once?! Am I that much of a control freak? Accept. Accept. Accept. Wow, you hit home with me today, lots of self-reflection.

I've never seen a NM Christmas book either, we were always a JCPenney Christmas Catalog family.


Kim Stagliano said...

Julie, remember the Ashbrooke brouhaha over fences!? Oh I don't miss that at all. Thanks for dropping in! KS

Trish Ryan said...

I'm glad to hear you're over your issues with receiving gifts, cause you just won a book on my blog :)

Although to be honest, with that story about you tap dancing at halftime in the Miss Attleboro pagent, I have to say you EARNED the book!

And can I just say again - PLEASE write a memoir!!??!! Between your tap dancing and my baton twirling, can you imagine the book tour we'd have? I think it might even get us on Letterman :)

Kim Stagliano said...

Stupid writer tricks? :) Did I really win a book? I'll be right over!

jenny gardiner said...

Okay, my dear. You are going to expound upon this a little bit more, maybe give yourself 1000 words or so, and then you are going to spell check it and correct any grammar that might need correcting, and then you are going to submit it to my editor contact at the washington post. Like do it TODAY so that it's not too late to go in there for the holidays. This is a very touching and poignant piece. email me and I"ll get you her info