The sun began to peek in through the small hole in the curtains. I quietly slipped out of bed not wanting to unwrap myself from the warm blankets from the bed my parents used to share. It is now home to my sister and me; A place of momentary solitude if I’m lucky.
I make my way to the kitchen only to find just enough cereal for my sisters and brother. A glass of milk for me will have to suffice. They need the nourishment more than I. I make our lunches; a thin slather of peanut butter on dry bread, wrapped in tin foil. I set them on the counter ready for school; No fancy lunch boxes or a paper sack, just a square piece of bread enveloped in aluminum. The sun is saying good morning as I open the drapes and wake them up.
Grabbing our lunches, bundled in the warmest clothes we have, we are off to school. The frozen grass crackles beneath our feet as we walk closely together to stay warm. The Christmas season is upon us. The holiday decorations adorn the blocks that lead the way to the 6 and half hours of learning; school :)
I turn ten today; although some days I feel like 35. I don’t want to be 35. When I’m 35 I don’t have time to be a kid; to play or to just have fun. But I need to be there for my brother and sisters. I’m all they have when my mom is working long hours at the two jobs that manage to keep a roof over our heads and just enough food to keep us going.
Sitting in class, pretending to listen, my thoughts are drifting to what can I make for dinner tonight, what book I will read before they go to bed and I know we have to finish a project my sister is working on. And that’s when I feel like I am 5 and I long for someone to take care of ME. And when the tears start to well up, I feel like I’m 3 and I pretend my mother is wrapping her arms around me and telling me it will be alright.
I find a quiet space in the cafeteria to eat my lunch. The kids make fun of me because I only have a sandwich, so eating alone is just easier. My shy personality doesn’t allow me to be confident let alone social. I pull out my sandwich and carefully open the foil. I savor it as if it is Pastrami on Rye; my mouth is watering. I bite into the dry bread with a hint of peanut butter and chew slowly. My mother always says if you chew your food slowly you’ll be full faster and considering I didn’t have anything else to pull out of the hat, I made a meal out of my peanut butter delight.
The bell is attempting to tell us school is out. It sounds as if it is on its last leg and about to hit bell heaven, but we are all used to it by now. I race out of class to get my little sister who is in 1st grade. The other two met me at the library; if you want to call it that. It isn’t any bigger than the small classrooms we inhabit for most of the day. But the room is lined with books and Mrs. Gardner always waits for me so I can check out the next adventure I will go on. She knows how much I love to read. Reading is my escape from the reality I have to live in. And in a book I can be any age I want; wear the prettiest dresses, have a new home with a mom and a dad and go on adventures; I love adventures! I always get books to read to my brother and sisters too. That is our nightly ritual; bedtime stories. I love that peaceful time when we snuggle together and I take them away to another place.
The day has warmed a bit since our chilly walk in the morning; as we take our time walking home admiring the decorations. We pick out our favorites and pretend one of the houses is ours. We each have our own room, a big bed and lots of food on the table. We are dreamers, but that is all we have. The hope in our eyes is always there especially when we play pretend.
Night is upon us; homework is finished; I make sure they have their baths, story time and then off to bed for the three of them.
The day is winding down and this is my time, my moment to be by myself.
I take my book and feel drawn to our old but beautiful tree. The gold and blue lights brighten up the tree with all of our creatively decorated ornaments; some plain and some maybe a bit too ornate, but beautiful just the same; we love it.
I lay down with my head under the bottom bow; my book in hand and escape to another place. The room is dark except for the gold and blue illuminating my space. I feel at peace; I feel warm and safe. I feel a Devine power with me under that tree at this moment and I know his arms are wrapped around me as I am feeling five again. I feel as if all is right and I am where I am supposed to be. I don’t want to leave. I know now that we will be OK. I feel loved. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me!
Every Christmas when I put up my tree, I turn off all the lights and let the colors from my tree bring magic to the room. I lie underneath my special tree and remember that moment when I was ten. Because sometimes I just want to feel warm, safe and loved like a kid again.
Do you have a cherished moment in your life? Think about that. What great feelings did it bring to you?
May the Holiday season bring more great moments to your life:)
Keep hiking to the top,