Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Story

Christmas is a time we get lost in giving gifts.  We monetize, materialize and forget what the season really means.

I believe gifts should be shared every day.  And when I found out I was becoming a mother, shortly after Christmas thirteen years ago, I instantly knew the one gift I wanted to give that child.  If nothing else, my child would have self-confidence.

This year, I learned how valuable that gift is, not only to my son, but for me and anyone who knows him as well.

You see, he started middle school this September.  And I was terrified-more scared than sending him to kindergarten, to be honest.  Why?  Because we all know how fragile self-esteem is and how easily preteens and teens destroy one another's identity of self-commonly referred to as BULLYING.

So, when my confident, fedora wearing sixth grader stood at his bus stop, on his first day of school, I cringed.  A lesson was sure to be learned from this and it was going to be painful.  I figured he'd be ridiculed.  Part of me hoped he'd influence others into wearing hats, but I seriously had my doubts.

My boy reported he didn't care what others thought.  And I prayed my efforts at positive self-image and years of praise was enough to keep him that way.

Sure enough, it was.  Not only have others in his school taken to wearing fedoras, but they've even named them after him.  And my boy is neither boastful nor embarrassed to admit he makes a difference in this world.

But it was an event this week that truly had me in tears and chokes me up each time I think about it.

Wearing his silly Christmas hat, he climbed onto the bus this regular school day.  To his delight, the whole bus crew shouted, "Merry Christmas!"  Upon arriving at his seat, he found a new hat waiting for him.

The expression on his face as he told the story warmed my soul.  And every time I think about it, I fall apart all over again.  Is this the result of my efforts?  Does he carry with him the gift I swore he would have that Christmas in 1997?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  I'd like to take credit, but something told me, way back when he was still in my womb, that something was special about this child.

So, really, he has been a gift to me, and possibly the whole world.  Our family has always called him Mr. President, for reasons I can't really explain, except that it fits him.

As 2011 approaches, I dream of speaking loudly about these positive things.  I'm tired of the negativity in this world and my fedora wearing boy inspires me to work that much harder.  Thank you, Doug, for being the person you are in my life.  Merry Christmas to you and all the people you touch every day.

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