Friday, December 10, 2010


Aaargh. So I woke up this morning with huge fat tears streaming down my face. I was thinking about Christmas and despite all of the revelry and all of the great things that are transpiring in my life, I went there. You know. There. That lonely place where you get all self-absorbed and whiny and act like you have nothing better to do than to complain about what isn't perfect in life. Yup. That place. I know. It is making my ears bleed just to think about it.

I don't have a perfect life. Far from it. My life is just different from what it used to be and I am like a lot of people who are making some adjustments to fit their ever-decreasing-in-size billfolds. I am still figuring it out. Some days - most in fact - are better than others, but it is a process. It is one I welcome and am learning from. You see, for nearly the past decade I have been complicit in an exercise in excess: purchasing the largest tree on the lot, the shiniest gigantic ornaments and buying ridiculously over-priced presents which would've stunned my parents and made my grandparents roll over in their graves. Honestly. What was I thinking? I wasn't. I was just numbly, unconsciously rolling along with the flow. And what an excessive flow it was.

One year our tree was so big we had to buy a dozen treetop angels just to sit on the branches so the tree would not look so empty. Imagine! The following year we had so many presents for the children that we had to hide them in a room in the basement - not a closet mind you, but in an entire room - our movie theater. And the food, my God. There were piles and piles of food enough to feed a small army, fresh baked breads, pineapple glazed hams, roasted turkeys, pans of sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, a field of greens and a pantry full of home-baked goodies. We were stuffed for days and then threw out the leftovers. Add warm festive lights, joyous music, high spirits all sprinkled with a little cinnamon and awww. The holidays.

Hmmm. What the mind tricks you into remembering. While Christmas was often lovely and the memories - some of them - were magical, I also recall quite a bit of stress involved. Finding just the right tree and getting it flocked, carting and unpacking dozens of boxes of ornaments and disagreements about what could go on the tree and what couldn't, waiting in countless supermarket lines and Honey Baked Ham lines, shopping, shopping, shopping for all the right gifts for just the right people right before the store closed on Christmas eve, more arguments, buying more toys than any one or two children could ever play with, still more stress-induced fights, dressing up for dinners which took hours to prepare and were gone in the bat of an eyelash. Exhaustion. Broken toys. Run down batteries. Too small sweaters. Mountains of once beautiful wrappings ripped to shreds and stuffed in trash bags. Every adult asleep in front of the movie we had all planned to enjoy together. And still, none of it ever felt like it was enough. Battle scars. Hurt feelings. Where was the joy?!

So, this morning, I mourned the loss of the fantasy. Sobbed big wet tears for all of the traditions I had created in my mind and then snapped out of being the drama queen my friend Mesu accuses me of being. And I counted my blessings for the late night gig which allows me to pay my bills, the paid extra project and its countless hours which will allow me to spend the first Christmas ever with my birth mom and siblings, the orphans in Uganda who have heightened my awareness about what it really means to give and receive and for whom my family began a new tradition of giving, my soon-to-be 47 nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews who help me understand love in ways I never knew I could feel, my 17 siblings who are some of the most amazing people you would ever want to know, my array of parents - all five of them who have poured everything into us to make us such wonderful people, and my friends, colleagues and acquaintances who I hope know how dearly I love and appreciate them in my life. The tears faded behind the beaming smile which lit up my heart.

This is the season of love, after all. It is not about how shiny the things you have are, but about how bright the light within you shines. Mine once was a glimmer; today it feels like a star. And I hope it is shining brightly wherever you are.

Love and Light to you this holiday season.

Robin G. White "Bobbie!" is an award-winning author and publisher. You can read more about her at You can read more about her family project, We Can We Care, Inc. at and find out how you too can help build sustainable charitable projects in your own community.

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  1. Great post Robin. It is true how we forget the important things in life and how we overlook the everyday blessings we already have in our lives. I am grateful for the blessings in my life and one of them includes you. I really hope you enjoy the time with your family. It is long overdue. Happy Holidays to you.

  2. Ummm...Wonderful One.....this is ssssooooo good! Yes, people have so forgotten the reason for the season and it aches me every year to watch them go into debt, fuss about the broken toys, and make new years resolutions to loose weight because of the holiday eating. A vicious circle they live every year, yet they feel like its worth it...until the economy tanks! Limited billfold has given us a reality that propels us into a thinking people...YEAH!