Friday, November 21, 2008

Thinking of Thanksgiving

The economy is so bad this year. It is impacting our household in a myriad of ways. Yule will definately be smaller and this bothers me. For 2 yrs now KC has asked for a "rose petal cottage." I am not sure it is the best gift for him and last year didn't get it because it seemed flimsy. However this year he asked again and this year flimsy or no, there is no way I could afford it. Sigh. That rots. The rational part of me knows that we can and will give him a wonderful Christmas experience. I do get that. But the fact that he asked for the same thing for 2 years is what bugs me. Sigh again. A big part of me thinks that the magic of childhood is the dreams that become realities for you as a child. On the other hand, the rational part of me knows I personally asked for my own horse every year from ages 5 to 11 and I didn't get it!

On the other hand, despite having to be careful, we are so much better off than so many people. Where I work, there are people from all walks of life, but mostly from much tougher situations than I am in. People who aren't agonizing over the rose petal cottage. People who agonize over buying meds or paying rent. Over how many times a week their kids can eat lunch. The people who have a really low income seem to have a safety net. They qualify for programs that make sure there is food on the table, their energy bills are usually paid etc. Their kids get free lunches or reduced fee lunches. They get holiday baskets to help with Thanksgiving. But there is an increasingly large segment of our population that fall through the cracks. People who are newly out of work don't always qualify for aid. Or don't know where to go if they do. Single people with a low wage job tend not to be a segment of our society who are noticed as needy. The person who is out of work for a month due to illness and who doesn't have young children tends not to qualify. So every year we tell our site that we are holding a lottery for thanksgiving baskets. In reality we pick 5 families that we know won't have a Thanksgiving without some help. Our staff donates veggies, fruit and turkeys and we deliver them the Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. We let the "winners" know ahead of time to alleviate any stress they may be having over their holiday meal. To a person, they have cried with relief and joy. Several have let slip stories of additional hardships that they are facing. Not in a "pity me" way, more in a matter of fact, sharing a facet of their life way which is somehow all the sadder to me. And it isn't hardships like giving up a cable channel. It is hardships like affording medicine for diabetes or even the type of food that a diabetic should eat. It is hardships like not being able to buy meat. I am a vegetarian by choice not because I realized that I couldn't pay the light bill if I bought meat to eat.

So today I am grateful that my biggest worries are keeping magic and good memories a part of my children's childhood. There will be food aplenty on the table next Thursday, much laughter and hubbub and we are very blessed. And I am giving thanks.

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