My Christmas Story

Christmas services 2011

Originally uploaded by dcwriterdawn

What a wonderful Christmas Eve. Unexpectedly, I got to spend it with a dear friend. That’s what Christmas is all about, yo.

I’ll spare you all the subsequent exchanges with the Houseguest since coming home, because I have a Christmas story that is far more important to share.

So, I was out picking up a couple of little items for said houseguest. And waiting in line, because it is Christmas Eve and all.

The woman behind me saw the three tiny items in my hand and asked if I were finishing up my shopping. “I never started,” I said.

She had two beautiful little candle holders in her hand. I inquired whether she were finishing up her shopping. She said she was, and added that I’m smart to not do gifts — it’s too easy to go overboard.

But, she wanted to know, “Did you buy something for yourself? Because you simply must do something special for you.”

I said that, well, I’ve only just started a new job, so it’s a low-key holiday. I said I was freelancing, and it was OK but it wasn’t always easy making ends meet. Besides, I really don’t need anything right now — I made it through the year and that’s a blessing, in and of itself.

She asked about the new job, whether it’s in my field and how I got it. I said yes, it’s in my field, and it’s the damndest thing — they found ME, not the other way around.

She remarked about one of the items in my hand, and I said it was for my mom. I lightly explained the whole “lives with me” thing. (And spared her the rest.) Her eyes filled with tears and she said she lost her mom last week. She was 90, and lived a great life. But still…

I said I understand. And I was compelled to reach out and hug her. She gladly took the hug and squeezed back tightly.

We kept talking; she wanted to know about my mom. I said she’s 54, poor health, dependent … that sort of thing. She said she’s only a couple years older and that’s just crazy. Does she sit in the house or does she get out? I said yes to the former; she needs me for everything.

And she said mom needs to do some volunteer work — she needs a social outlet other than me and she’s sure I need my space.

God bless this woman. But wait, there’s more.

I got to the cashier, and she said she was going to pay for my items. I said that was lovely to offer, but I was good. She said, no, she really wanted to give me a little Christmas lift.

The candleholders, she finally told me, were for her mom’s house. (They were absolutely beautiful, by the way.) She said the house still smells like her mom and she’s going to burn some candles to try to temper it a bit. It’s too hard to walk in there every day and feel like her mom is still there because her scent is everywhere.

I had found out her name is Pat. When we got outside, she asked my name. And I thanked her for being my angel this Christmas. We wished each other Merry Christmas, and she said to buy myself something special when I can. And that was that.

Wherever you are, Pat, I wish you love and strength and light. I needed to run into you when I did — I truly am at my wits’ end with my own mother. You let me see that it’s that easy to lose her, but that it’s also perfectly normal to be cranky about the whole situation, too.

God put you in my path today. And I’m grateful to Him that magic seems to follow me wherever I go. Thanks to you both for this brief exchange that will stay in my heart for a lifetime.

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