My kids are pretty lucky little creatures. Roof over their heads, food a-plenty, toys and electronics galore. We're not the Gateses by a long shot, but these children are not exactly lacking in the material comforts of life. And since most of their peers are more or less in the same boat, my three have no real opportunity to see socioeconomic differences: they don't have any idea how little some other children have and how fortunate they actually are. They are still young, but this is not a good state of affairs.
Their CCD (Catholic religious education) program is sponsoring a Giving Tree this year. The idea is simple: people request things that they would like for Christmas but can't afford, and these are written on tags and attached to a Christmas tree in the parish hall. People select tags, buy the indicated gifts and place them beneath the tree, from whence they are delivered to those who requested them by the organizers. On the way out of class last week, I called the kids over to the tree, explained the situation and asked them each to pick a tag. Petunia chose a tag requesting a Barbie doll, Thing Two a tag for toddler books, and Thing One a tag for infant musical toys. As I was tucking them into my purse for later shopping, one of the tags still on the tree caught my eye, and I picked it off the tree to make sure that I was reading it correctly, which I was. It said "Socks."
Hit me right upside the head, I'll tell you, and here I was worried about what my kids were taking for granted. Some child somewhere doesn't even have socks, never mind toys! I slipped that tag into my purse with the others because it hurt my heart...what a reminder to be grateful for all the blessings that I have.
I wish the tag had said what size socks to buy, and for a boy or a girl, because that would have helped me find a toy to put in the bag with the socks, too. Since it didn't, I bought the biggest damned bag of socks you've ever seen instead; boys' and girls,' a variety of sizes.
Merry Christmas, child. Thank you for the gift that you gave me.