Every Christmas Eve ever since I was a child, we would have a small and cosy dinner party with close family and friends over at our place. It has been one of our Christmas traditions and even after I got married, we continued that tradition of going back to my mom’s place for dinner. Even my in-laws would go over if they were not away on holiday.
However, this is the first time in my life that I didn’t make it there. My C-section hurt so badly that I couldn’t even walk. It had started to hurt during our HK trip as we did a lot of walking and I guess too much walking and carrying of Kate these past few days had aggravated the wound again, although it’s rather unbelievable given that it’s been more than a year.
So the kids and the hubs and even his aunt and uncle and cousins went over. My good ol’ friends from my secondary school days were also there and one friend even brought her parents along (we are very kampung style, everyone is welcomed!) And I was suddenly left at home. All by myself. You know, it’s strange. I love being alone. I love the silence and peace (especially as I’m surrounded by chatter the whole day). But to know that everyone around you is celebrating the occasion and are making merry together while you are alone feels rather depressing.
|#2 & #3 decorated the tree at Por Por’s house|
It got me thinking of all those people out there who do not have family to celebrate this time with. And those who may be having financial or family troubles that they face this season of joy with a heavy heart. For me, it’s just this once. What about the elderly who have no family or worse, whose family does not bother about them and every year, it’s the same dreary existence for them.
It was a sobering thought and once again, it reminded me that we have to always be thankful for what we have, not the material things but the important things in life, like having a family (even though it may not be perfect), and having good health. And I resolved that I would try harder to instill in my kids a greater sense of giving. And a heart for caring. Not only for their family members, but all whom they come into contact with. That they may always be a light for others.
|My sad dinner.. but then again, at least I had food!|
It really struck me that all things are relative. If I compared my dinner of chickpeas and water with their banquet of ham and turkey, I would feel so sorry for myself. But if I compared what I had with those images I saw on youtube of little children rummaging dustbins for scraps, I had too much. And instead of feeling depressed, I felt a desire to give.
I have never been more glad to hear the voices of my kids as they returned home, bearing gifts and food. Suddenly, the gifts were immaterial. I just longed for their presence and to be surrounded by their childlike joy. Having my hubs and all my kids around me, I felt peace. And happiness. Wow. The simplicity of it all astounded me.
|Kate overwhelmed by so many presents|
I got the kids to make up some Christmas parcels and instructed the younger 2 to give them to the ‘Uncles’ working on the garbage truck and to wish them a Merry Christmas when they come around in the morning. #5 was initially reluctant to do so as “the garbage truck is so smelly!” But I explained to him that those uncles have to bear with the smell everyday just to help us remove our trash, so shouldn’t we show some appreciation to them?
I opened all my gifts, and the gifts that touched my heart the most? Definitely the handmade ones. #2 spent an entire day making up these ‘pyramid of kisses’ for all of us.
|A labour of love|
And #4’s handmade card takes pride of place in our bathroom, a place where daddy will see it everyday!
Save tip: It dawned on me (again) that we have way too much stuff (maybe I need a 1 year family ban on buying stuff, although I know the hubs will be the first to flout the rule) and that Christmas should be about giving of ourselves to others more so than the giving of presents. May the true meaning of Christmas be in our hearts this season.