"Little Drummer Boy" is on my mind. For a number of reasons, not the least of which was because I was in tears listening to it on the drive home last night.
There's been a video wandering around the internet. Person tells poor kid they can have the thing they want, or the thing their parents want, not both. Poor kid chooses the thing for their parents, ahh how heartwarming, kid gets both things. Look at the good little poor kid!
I grew up land rich and penny poor. I had an awesome childhood rambling around in the woods with pets and animals and extended family right next door. I spend probably as much time in my grandmother's house as my own. Those experiences have shaped who I am today - how could it not?
But we did want for unnecessary things, as kids do. 9 times out of 10, we did not get them. I have a very practical nature - You're going to get socks or shirts or a vacuum from me if I think you need one of these things. My mother never once flipped out about having gotten an iron or a stand mixer for Christmas because chances were she needed one.
We are a practical people.
We are also a generous people.
The door would be open, food would be had for all comers, and a child was always adopted off the Elf tree at church, because we knew, at least my mother made us know, It Could Always Be Worse.
I've carried that with me. It Could Always Be Worse. I adopt kids via the work program every year, and I try to make sure my gifts are useful, educational.
But listening to "Little Drummer Boy" last night...
"I have no gifts to bring, pa rum pa pum pum..."
It felt all so very futile.
In the end, I can get my Dad a new winter jacket for work so he's warm, but it's not what he really wants. It's a bandaid, because he really wants to retire. He is tired. I can't afford to support him.
I can get my Mother warm fuzzy socks, but I can not reverse time so that her feet don't get cold so easy. I can get her a picture of me to put over the piano, but at this point I can't just move home so she can see the real me every day.
I can not gather up everyone in a big safe hug.
I have no gifts to bring...
So I do what I can. I think we all do what we can.
It Can Always Be Worse.