What I care to share

I have a blessed life.

I don’t say that because it’s Christmas time. I don’t say that because I think I’ve somehow earned the blessings I’ve been given. I say it because it’s true. I also say it, because it hasn’t always been this way.

This year I am acting as a family advocate for a single mom and her 18 month old son who are getting assistance through the Women’s and Children’s Alliance. The program is called Care2Share and it’s a social media based way to give during the Holiday Season. The concept was thought up by my amazing friends and although only in it’s second year Care2Share is helping fulfill the needs of 20 families this month.

I have to admit when I was first asked to be a family advocate I hesitated for a few minutes. It’s not because I don’t support the genuine efforts that my friends have put into this. Nor is it because I don’t want to help out families in need. I just have a hard time with Christmas. It’s a ridiculous holiday that highlights greed, consumerism, over indulgence, and all out cultural and religious ignorance. Christmas is a total sham.

However, I only thought about these things briefly before I eagerly agreed to help out in whatever way I can. It wasn’t a change of heart about Christmas that caused me to commit. It was a haunting of memories from times not so blessed that made me reevaluate my attitude toward Christmas

I have walked through those doors at the Women’s and Children’s Alliance and had to utter the most difficult words my mouth could form: “I’m fearful for my life and need some help”. I am one of the fortunate ones that never had to make that tear stained trek with children in tow. The journey was impossible enough without the weight of them.

Once I moved on in my life, found some safety and an ounce of self esteem, I started a family; the real blessings in this story.Although I had moved past that difficult and dark period in my life, living was far from easy. Pregnant at 23, single mom, still in school, unemployed, uninsured… I’ll save you the nightmare tales I could tell about the first years of my girls’ lives. What I will say is this; without my family, without my friends, without this community that I’m fortunate enough to be a part of, I would be nothing and I would have nothing to give. Nothing to give to the kids I love working with every day. Nothing to give to the staff I hope I serve as an adequate mentor for. Nothing to give to my family who has literally given me every ounce of love and support they could possibly muster. Nothing to give to this community that has not just extended a hand to help me up, but has shoved me from every direction until I had no choice but to stand on my own. Nothing to give to my precious children, who deserve a mother who is capable of giving.

We celebrate Christmas in my family. My kids believe in Santa. They ask for presents, although I try to keep them modest in their asking. We decorate a tree, we drink hot cocoa, we sing silly songs in false vibratos… we do it all. I want my children to believe in Christmas magic, but not the type of magic that we might typically associate with this holiday.The magic I want them to believe in has nothing to do with the miscalculated birth date for a religious idol. It doesn’t relate to a creepy man in a velvet suite. I want them to believe with all their hearts in the power of giving. I want them to know it’s what we do as members of a caring, committed, and fortunate society. I want them to know it’s not just something we do during the holidays, but that holidays are especially hard on those in need. I want them to know that we once were fortunate enough to be helped time and time again, and that is a debt that can never be repaid.

There is a single mom with a baby that I know nothing about, except that she had to walk through some doors, and do something that felt insurmountable. I know, firsthand, that this type of giving really does make a difference.  I know that she needs help. I know that many of you have the ability, the compassion, and the fortitude to give. Please check out these remaining items to see what you might be able to help with. The gift is much bigger than you could ever realize.



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