The following is an excerpt from my current Publisher\’s Note in Western Horse Review. Considering the new restrictions / changes / happenings of the past week, I\’ve needed to re-look at my own writing. My own history. I needed this reminder.
Perhaps many of you will find it helpful too…
Growing up as the young child of a single mother, I remember a couple of tough Christmases. Money was tight, stress was high and my mother secretly worried about how she was going to pay rent. I imagine it\’s not much different to what many of us are facing this year in the first ever, Covid-Christmas.
Back then, she was so worried about the normal essentials. Not to mention how she would create a joyful holiday occasion for my sister and I. Of course, we were oblivious to her concerns, as we carried along in the blissful day-to-day of toddlers.
What I remember of those trying times were hand-baking ornaments out of dough, because we had no decorations for the tiny tree my mom managed to scrape together a few dollars for. None of them had any colour – they were all brown from varnish and we baked paper clips in the tops of each, so we could string green wool through the tops to hang them. I was so proud, in particular, of the hand-rolled candy canes I made. As a four-year-old, some of the more intricate designs were better suited for Mom.
To date, my mother still decorates her tree with some of those decorations. They didn’t cost a penny and they maintain the same brown color. Yet, they withstood the test of time. And after all these years, they serve as reminders of one of the most important lessons of my life.
Make the most of it.
After all this time, I worry that my mother still frets about those Christmases. There were few material gifts for us under the tree but the truth is, she gave us something much more precious. Much more important. At four-years-old, I learned how to use what I had. How to make the most of it. And it turned out okay.
That lesson has proven invaluable this year. In 2020, “making the most of it” has become my mantra. I only hope I can pass it on to my children as well as my mother did for us.
Whatever the Christmas season looks like for you this year – I wish you all the very best. Make the most of it.