It took me nearly 40 years to realise that it is not about money, or the presents. It took me spending a Christmas entirely alone, to realise this.
I have dreaded the last couple of Christmases. I have dreaded them for different reasons.
Last Christmas, i dreaded it because i knew that i was going to spend it alone. Danny and i had not lived together since May. We had decided in August to try to put our marriage back together, but nothing had been done to repair our relationship during the months between August and December. The kids were in Dunedin with Nick.
I had lots of money, and had taken them shopping for their Christmas presents, before they had left. They got Ipods, new cell phones, X box games...i bought them whatever they wanted last year, hoping that would make up for the fact that i was not going to see them. Who that was supposed to make it up to, i do not know. Was it supposed to make me, or them feel better about not seeing each other during the holidays. Probably a bit of both. Either way, it did not work.
This Christmas, i have dreaded it, because i knew that money was going to be so tight. I have been worried about the expense of it all. I have been worried that i would be able to afford to even buy them presents at all. I have been worried about being able to afford a big Christmas dinner.
While i have not been able to help wishing that i had the money that i had last year, as well as having them with me, like i have this year...i can't help but wish that i had the best of both worlds. I have felt blessed for knowing that i will spend this Christmas day with loved ones...well half of it anyway, I pick them up from the Jones's in the afternoon. I would love to be able to spoil the kids, as well as have them with me, and be able to spend as much time as i want with them...i know which one i would prefer, if i had to make a choice.
Heck, i DID have to make the choice. I am so glad that i made the one that i did. I know that they would rather have me...than presents as well...even if they won't admit it. haha
I have been thinking about how last year, i had money...and this year i have no money, but i have the best relationship with my kids. Better than i could have ever asked for.
That makes me feel truly wealthy.
Nixon and i just got back from a huge long walk. I felt a bit stink yesterday because he only got a short walk late yesterday afternoon. I can definitely see the difference in his behaviour, when he does not get his big long walk. He is used to huge walks now, and gets a bit hyper and pissed off when he does not get one now.
So i made sure that i had the time for him today. We walked for ages...a couple of hours. He is exhausted on my bed now.
The part of Auckland that i live in is a funny place, not far from the city. Our walks take us past some of the most beautiful homes that i have seen, and past grotty little blocks of flats, that look like they belong in the middle of a slum. It's not unusual to have opposite ends of that spectrum, right next door to each other.
We see every kind of people, while out on our walks. Wealthy, poor, business people, students, housewives, homeless people, as well as every nationality. The suburb that i live in, is a huge melting pot full of every type of person that society has to offer.
Today, for some reason, instead of noticing the flash cars, the flash homes, and the wealthy people...i noticed the homeless, the slummy looking blocks of flats, the drunk and toothless guitar player that is always busking on the corner with his drunk mates hanging around him...the kids that were crammed into cars that did not even look road worthy...etc etc...
...and i felt blessed.
This Christmas...while i will be glad when it is over, because i have felt pressure because of it...i feel really blessed. I am so much happier this holiday season, than i was last year. Money and THINGS...mean nothing, if you don't have the people that you love with you...at times like this.
I have faith that i will never go without anything that i truly need. I have faith that as long as i have people around me that love me and that i love...we will always be ok. There are so many people out there that are so much worse off than i am...and only a small part of that has to do with finances.
Even if i had not been able to afford Christmas presents for the kids this year...it still would have been a happier Christmas than the last.
Nixon is snoring. The girls are doing their own things. I might join Nixon and have an afternoon nap now.