trimming the tree

dec 1 2012 tree trimming 002 dec 1 2012 tree trimming 073 dec 1 2012 tree trimming 089

Trimming the grandparents’ tree and scarfing down their food can be checked off our ‘celebrating December’ list.

After dinner, we brainstormed causes to support with our Christmas donation of time, treasure and talent.   We came up with five – the food bank, the animal shelter, the women’s shelter, tree planting and park conservation.   Eventually we narrowed it down to the animal shelter.  Research will be undertaken to identify some immediate needs that we can meet – maybe purchase a pet cot for a medium-sized animal for around $75.  Volunteering is tricky because the shelter has a minimum age requirement, and we have five children that don’t quite meet it.  However, I’ve been thinking that I could probably twist some arms to arrange a tour of the shelter and a chance to learn more about its mission, vision, values, history, funding, programs, challenges . . .  The objective being to educate, empower and inspire them to be engaged in their community and to simply care about others.  My only concern is that we will come home with a dog.

I’m not going to lie.  I am often overwhelmed with guilt and doubt that I am being unreasonable to think we could celebrate Christmas without all the excessive gift giving.  I’m being asked what the girls think about not getting a lot for Christmas compared with all of their peers.  It’s not easy. I have a hard time articulating to the kids exactly what it is that I’m trying to model.   The littlest is happy with everything.  She asks for very little,  she gets it, and she knows it is special.  The teen tries to understand, but nevertheless sees it as unjust.  I expect it is because her love language is stuff.   This is the struggle.  I also fear that the amount of stuff we give her is never enough.   In the end, I find it all wasteful, and there is too much disappointment when the stuff doesn’t live up to expectations.  So in the end,  I try to put everything in perspective.  Focus on the positive.  There are lots of reality checks.   Remembering what’s really important.  Gratitude.  Appreciation.  Fortune.  I find solace in reading wise words from wise women.   I surround myself with friends who feel the same.  I gain strength in their words and their actions.  I do things that matter.  I fill our calendar with activities we will all enjoy and that celebrate the season.  I remind myself to trust my instincts.   I listen to my heart.   I will keep it simple.   And it will be enough.  We will love those girls with our hearts, our words, our actions, and whatever else doesn’t require keeping Walmart in business.  And it will be plenty.

5 Responses to “trimming the tree”
  1. Debbie says:

    Isaac and Ella are so similar. Isaac’s love language is quality time..but I often find myself noticing that it’s never enough for him either. That’s challenging. You are doing SO much more than most parent’s in bringing up those lovely girls of yours to appreciate all that is. That’s all you can do. The rest is their lesson to learn. They each have their path to walk and it won’t be the same as yours…but you are doing an amazing job modelling for them…so please take solace and find peace in that. You inspire. Love you to bits. ❤

  2. Joan Janes says:

    If we don’t act according to our beliefs, who will? You are setting a wonderful example for your children and all who know you. Your instincts are just fine, Nadine!

  3. Robyn says:

    How old do you have to be to volunteer?


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