Friday, December 9, 2011

Family Christmas Tree


This year my children voted not to purchase a Christmas tree. I have mixed emotions about the decision. Instead of my elaborate tree, we are donating a medium sized tree and presents that they made and purchased for a family who lives in their car. I sprung for a hotel room for Christmas Eve for the family. I am not going to post their pictures or names as they asked to keep this quiet. I suspect they worry that their two children who do not attend school might be removed from their hard life.

I live in an affluent neighborhood. I notice an increase of not just single homeless men, but now families. The last piece of normal they have is to sleep in their automobile and solicit donations in the shopping center in front of WalMart. I cannot tell you exactly what lead this particular family to lose their home, but I know the struggle to find employment becomes more difficult by not having a stable place to live.

I admit to a selfish wistfulness. I will miss not having a big tree with my gold and silver ornaments that I have collected over the past nine years. I lost all the prior ones in a fire. My ornaments each have some special handmade memory. I have not figured out how I will hang them, thinking fishing wire from every window, but this seems like more work than I have time to budget. Silly and frivolous concerns when I compare myself to a family without a decent place to sleep.

Things have not been easy street for my family this year. I look back on holidays in my past and am thankful of the support I have from the large and meddlesome network I have covering my back. I will have fifty some family and friends for dinner on Christmas Day. I invited my adopted car family but they seem embarrassed to show up. A few of my siblings expressed distress that I might include persons that they worry might make the celebration awkward or uncomfortable. I am not passing judgment on anyone, just doing something I think might help their eleven year old son and fifteen year old daughter to hang on to a memory that offers a more hopeful future.

I wish I could give more.
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