A Humble But Heartfelt Thank You

As we finally take some private time to remember Paul today, what would have been his 50th birthday, we are humbled and continue to be overwhelmed by the love and support generously given us this past half year by all of our friends – old and new – and family. Your gifts, words, time, help, compassion, and understanding have been received with such emotion and appreciation. Please know how much we are moved by your love for Paul.

The services of professionals who have exceeded all reasonable levels of dedication and expertise have been invaluable. We can only hope you feel the wonderfully positive effect of your commitment to others.

We couldn’t be doing as well as we are without every one of you. There are so many to thank; we cannot possibly do so without falling terribly short of the gratitude we feel.

On this day of celebrating husband and dad, and taking a rare moment to be able to feel his loss, all we can say is, “Thank you.”

Alexandra, Ben, Tashiya, Maggie, and Desi Brown.

Coping With The Mountain of Christmas Toys

This is a blurb I wrote last Christmas for our local paper. I am reminded of it by others who read it and mention it to me now, a year later. Thought I’d take a moment to share it with you…

As the mother of five tween/teens, I look forward to the magic of Christmas as much now as I did when they were all much younger. A lot of that anticipation is due to the spirit of giving that my husband and I instilled in the kids. From the beginning, we tried to impress upon them the responsibility of their fortunate circumstances.
We explained to them that we pay Santa for the gifts he brings. (This usually takes place at the mall while we are waiting for pictures…) It also helps to explain both the limits to the jolly elf’s generosity, as well as the imbalance of favour the kids discover upon their return to school; and parents still have the final say over what and how much Santa brings.
We also laid down the law early on as we began to fall victim to the overwhelming abundance of toys that accumulate with a house full of children. We soon decided that Santa would not be bringing anything into the house unless there was someplace special to store these new belongings. This quickly turned into a mass clean up through the house during the entire month of December. Old toys, games, clothes, etc., were sorted through, cleaned up, and organized. Things that were still wanted, found a home in closets and on shelves. Games and toys with missing and broken pieces were discarded.
But it was the items still in good condition that never seemed to actually find a spot in the owners’ hearts or imaginations that brought out the true gift of the season. We bagged these things and left them under the tree on Christmas Eve, for Santa to take with him. There are many families who can’t afford to pay Santa for gifts, and our kids were thrilled at the idea of lending St. Nick a hand!
As the Christmas season is a time of joy, it is also a time of stress and change for many families. While we enjoy our family time, we now realize that domestic violence, stress, and poverty can all peak during the holidays for others. And our Christmas Eve contributions to Santa’s sleigh surely find their way to women’s shelters, hospitals, and preschools throughout the community.
It’s all a way of getting the kids more involved in giving, without having to have money in their own little pockets. And a note from Santa on Christmas morning thanking them for their help usually overshadows the presents they themselves receive.