Tuesday, December 29, 2009
My Best Christmas Present Ever....
"How was your Christmas - what did you get?" The universal question the day after December 25th.
I have been asked this question by people whose entire focus is materialistic...it is indeed about comparing who got what. I have been asked the same question by those who wish to share the tale of a precious gift that has stunned them for the love it represented in their lives, such as one dear friend who got diamond ear rings from her partner - a gift that was incredible to her because of the love that lay behind it in the giving of it.
As a child, I came down the stairs W-A-Y before dawn to see what Santa brought - and I have wonderful memories of certain gifts both from "Santa" and from under the tree - the year I got my first bicycle (huge for a child who spent 5 years unable to walk) or the year I got my guitar - Santa was still coming by the house at that point, but the illusion had been dispelled by then; I knew whose loving hands lay behind the "Santa" gifts.
(Although, I believed - really believed - in Santa far longer than my peers and had to be gently informed by my mother of the truth behind the legend at mumble-something umpteen years of age. Ahem - well, what do you expect? I got LETTERS from Santa - he even sent me samples of the hay he fed the reindeer! He and I corresponded off and on for years, even when it wasn't winter. Where ever you are Mr. Howell, beloved neighbor and grandfather of my heart, thank you for being Santa for me all those years. The gift of magick and belief was precious to me and always will be!)
But such was the love and beauty of my family's traditions - decorating the tree with my Father, making ornaments with Mom, breakfast in the country at my Aunt and Uncle's farm on Christmas day, that I came very early on to understand that the material presents were representative of the love behind them from the people who gave them, symbolic of the love of Deity, and that as the Grinch found out - Christmas can come without presents at all!
I have had years when I have given presents to a long list of friends and family...and years when all I had to give anyone was a hug. This year has been one of those "hug" years, as we struggled to pay bills - and we made it, but just barely. Part of why we made it was the incredible generosity of those who aided in financial ways as their Christmas present to us - you know who you are, I shan't embarrass anyone here, but THANK YOU! We have been on the edge of desperation for a number of months. Your tangible love tipped us away from the danger of losing everything we had. It won't always be like this - graduation nears and I am closer than ever to embarking on a career that will take us out of the financial hole we have been living in. But it is because of love like this that we will survive to get there. And some will be paid back - and some will be paid forward, passing the gift to those like us who are in need.
Some friends gave precious gifts that were truly symbolic of the love they hold in our hearts for us and for me - one I will treasure forever is a silver and pewter pocket watch with a gorgeous Green Man motif! Another was Celtic music, and who can ever forget the rainbow socks! Our youngest son, Enlightened, sent us framed wedding pictures and Dreamweaver cried for joy at such a beautiful gift from the heart of her son!
So....what did I get for Christmas this year? What was the Christmas present that totally overwhelmed me and filled my heart with so much love that I had tears in my eyes and a joy in my heart that I can barely express?
It was a text message.
A simple text message, that came in the day after Christmas...from my stepson, Enlightened, mentioned above. My phone text message signal went off and I looked down to see on the tiny phone screen his name and number come up.
Understand, I call him my stepson, but I tread lightly with that. His older brother, The Marine, has rejected his mother, Dreamweaver and myself because we are a gay couple; we are cut off from The Marine, his family and our grandchildren, who have no idea that Dreamweaver is their Grandmother. Dreamweaver's younger son, Enlightened, and his wife are far more at ease with us and stay in touch, have given us love and acceptance. But I have tread lightly with the "stepmom" thing. It is hard enough to accept a step parent who has come into your life, particularly in situations where there are broken homes and misunderstanding and sometimes even hate. I have been very grateful for Enlightened's acceptance - but I never presumed too much,I was just simply glad to be his friend and that he didn't mind me being in his mom's life.
Until this text message appeared on my phone on December 26th from him. This is what it said:
"Merry belated Christmas. I just wanted to let you know you've been one of my favorite people in the whole world ever since I met you. Thank you for taking such good care of my Mom. Tell her from me. I love you (and you are in my phone as HannahMom.)"
Something as intangible as wireless signal, passing from tower to tower in moments, from five states away...and it changed my life! I truly do have a son who loves me. I never had children myself - for a number of reasons, several of them quite good, and while in the end I have had cause to be grateful for those decisions, I also love children and would have loved being a parent. Family is a precious and sacred thing to me, whether it is biological, blended or "family of choice". Dreamweaver and I both have struggled with the loss of family due to homophobia and rejection of us and our relationship and who and what we are; we live daily half in the closet with some family members because we know that the relationship could not survive the revelation that we are gay.
We have learned to value family because of these losses, these dangers.
I have a son, who loves me as his mom and parent.
I love him too - and the little text he sent to me is my best Christmas gift, ever!