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Monday, December 23, 2013

We had a freakin' Christmas miracle

Today, I loaded up the kids and took them to a local women's shelter/crisis pregnancy center. I wanted to teach them a lesson - but not the Scared Straight kind.

I wanted to teach them about miracles.

true story - a Christmas miracle by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I don't talk about this much, but it's been kind of a rough year at the HTV household. Our home is full of love and loud voices and joy, but our wallets are full of mostly lint and old Hello Kitty stickers the toddler peeled off her shirt and asked us to keep. It's not something I discuss very freely - not because I'm ashamed or embarrassed, but because it's not something that weighs as heavily on my heart as you might think; sure, we're broke, but (brace yourself for mushiness) my husband and I trust in our marriage and each other completely. I might not know how, but I do know we'll be okay. Rich we are not - but we are strong, and we're together, and we're happy.

Anyway, my point is, I only occasionally lose sleep over money.

Except in December.

In December we have two kiddos with birthdays, plus I believe there's another gift-giving occasion... what's it called?... oh yeah, Christmas. I understand there's more to their childhood than material goods, and it's the thought that counts, and Christmas has become too commercial anyway, and all that other blahblahblah. But let's be real, folks - when it comes down to it, you want to be able to give your kids everything.

Or at least some of the things.

We were not going to be able to do that.

I was really lucky to have some toy samples (blogging swag!) - it was some cool, random stuff, but not much that was age/gender/interest specific to my particular kids. Be that as it may, those were the toys I had, and those were the toys they were going to get!

I knew the kids would never complain in a million years, but I still braced myself. I want them to experience the magic of Christmas, and like it or not, in the eyes of children most of the magic is tied up in Santa and wish-fulfillment and eating sugar cookies for breakfast. I tried to think of a way to explain why they weren't getting many of the things they asked for, without inadvertently saying something that would scare the crap out of them and start a series of panicked, "Are we going to be homeless?" questions.

For the record, no, we are not going to be homeless.

Then a few days ago, I opened my email and found a miracle there.

One of my friends - someone I know only online and haven't met yet in real life - explained that she and her husband found themselves in a position to help friends, and they wanted to help us. They wanted to bring Christmas to my kids.

I was floored. I cried. I still cry when I think about it; I can't find the words to adequately express what that enormously generous gesture means to me. And then I realized their gift meant we could donate the blogging swag toys I had been planning to give to my kids.

Cue more crying.

The happiness and warmth on my kids' faces when they slid the box of toys across the desk to the woman at the shelter is a gift I'll cherish forever, and one I couldn't have received without that unexpected miracle from my friend.

Make no mistake, I'm not claiming to be a good person. A good person would've donated those toys a long time ago, and just had faith that everything would work out. A really good person would've donated them a long time ago, even if the toys had been age-appropriate for their own children, thrown in a Starbucks gift card, and given the woman behind the desk a massage.

I am not that good.

But when you're down, it's easy to forget important things in the all-consuming process of scraping yourself together. This experience has restored my faith in the goodness of people, and in myself. It has restored my faith in the joy of spreading joy. It has restored my faith in believing that things - not just in my marriage, but everywhere - will be okay, even if we don't know exactly how.

It has restored my faith in faith.

So I tell you this story, not for pats on the back or to discuss religion or materialism or to ask what other people do with all their lint-covered Hello Kitty stickers (though ours are really piling up, so I'm open to suggestions). I tell you this story to remind you to believe in miracles. That things you do really, truly make a difference - in others, and in yourself.

I had forgotten. I thought maybe some of you had, too.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing - and so I don't get all lonely. I get extra-pathetic when I'm lonely.


32 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas. Glad it is going to be a great one. This is a wonderful story to hear and wish there was more like this every day. Thank you for putting a smile on my face.

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  2. Wow. Thank you for sharing that. Been there, done that, doing it again this year. But yes, somehow it all works out. Merry Christmas! xo

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  3. "If tv has taught me anything, it's that miracles always happen to poor kids on Christmas. It happened to Charlie Brown, it happened to the Smurfs, and it's gonna happen to us!" -- Bart Simpson (I'm not calling your kids poor, just thought it was fitting.)

    Also, maybe you could decoupage those Hello Kitty stickers onto a vase?

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  4. Crumbs! We're broke??? I really need to start paying attention when your mouth says stuff.

    Funny, because I feel like George Bailey - the richest man in town. I love you, Baby. Merry Christmas.

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  5. I wish that, too - I'm hoping there are miracles quietly happening everywhere right now. Thanks for being here, and merry Christmas!

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  6. It's kind of amazing that it does - it's a tough lesson to learn to trust it. Merry Christmas to you and yours - may things continue to work out in your favor!

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  7. Jenn, Simpsons quotes are always welcome - nay, DEMANDED - here. Please accept this hideous, dripping decoupaged Hello Kitty case as a token of my appreciation.

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  8. I know, I was surprised, too! I felt like we were rolling in cash, but then I tried to balance the checkbook and the bank's website laughed at me. I love you, too - thanks for making broke feel so good.

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  9. I love this so much and so very much appreciate you sharing this. Amazing to feel and give that kind of love--your family is beautiful, Robyn! What a perfect Christmas miracle!

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  10. Thanks so much, Meredith! It is a pretty prefect Christmas miracle, isn't it?!? I'm still basking in all the love circulating around here. :)

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  11. This is beautiful. I love everything you write but this takes the cake. Happy Holidays, Buddy.

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  12. Love. Merry Christmas to you, beautiful friend.

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  13. Ditto what kc said.❤️And more later, after I stop crying...����

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  14. Robyn, I love your blog, and I don't even have kids! Your sense of humor and outlook on life are a lot like mine, so this post really put a smile on my face. If it had been written by someone who is happy about everything, I'd be like "Whatevs," but coming from you, it really was wonderful to read. Merry Christmas to you and your family, and don't ever change!

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  15. Thank you so much - that's exactly what I wanted, to spread the beauty around. :)

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  16. That means a lot coming from you, my friend. xoxo

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  17. And a merry Christmas to you, too - and a thank you, I believe you know what for. Love you, miss you.

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  18. Yes, more later - my new slogan is "Phone date in 2014!" I'm making bumper stickers and t shirts as we speak. :)

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  19. That means more to me than you could know, Lisa - thank you so very, very much! [insert characteristic snark break here] Seriously, though, I'm really happy it didn't come off as too saccharin - I have precious little experience with this feel-good stuff, so I can never tell if I sound whiny. Your comment really does mean a lot to me (this reply is in no way related to the wine I've been drinking today).

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  20. In vino veritas! :-)

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  21. This is so beautiful, Robyn. I love hearing about your Christmas miracle. Merry Christmas!

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  22. How in the heck did I miss reading this post when it went up? This is phenomenal, and it makes my cold little heart so, so happy. You are an amazing person, mother, wife and friend and knowing you makes me a better person myself. And as you know, that has nothing to do with "things." I'm so glad that you were able to enjoy your holiday and bring some joy to others as well. Merry Christmas!

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  23. YOU are amazing! Thank you for bringing me such happiness, and for being my friend and absorbing some of my crazy so I feel slightly less crazy. Merry Christmas to you (and your mom, and any nuns who stop by for dinner)!

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  24. Oh Robyn. I can't tell you how much I can relate to this. That is a special brand of stress and worry that I don't wish on any mom. So glad that couple came through for you and your family. Love you friend!

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  25. Love you right back! I'm channeling the joy of your sour cream sugar cookie revelation (and laughing about your burnt out lights - then laughing even harder when we pulled out our tree -on Dec 23- and half the lights were burnt out). xoxo

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  26. Oh Robyn!! I wrote a post like this, but actually completely different and not as cool. What a wonderful friend you have and I'm going to take your cue and just keep my faith in faith. Thank you.

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  27. I just fell a wee bit in love with you for this.
    Every year we do 2 shoe boxes of gifts for the Operation Christmas Child program. and every year I wonder if they will get more than own children. But we do it - because every year it all just comes together for us too. I don't know - but it does. Mind you, we don't go overboard: there are no tablets or mini pads or MP3 players etc under the tree. My son got an iPod 5 because he saved the money himself and we kicked in enough for the tax and a case. And we did it with pride because he accomplished his goal. And I think that is a far better thing to celebrate at Christmas.
    And we too had a secret santa this year - I hesitated about accepting their generous gift that was just for myself and hubby because they knew we would only buy for our kids. But my mom told me: "no, you accept. otherwise you steal away that persons' chance to be a blessing. Your job is then to go be a blessing to someone else."
    amazing. miraculous.

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  28. Your post is beautiful and heartfelt and true, just like you. You're raising those not-so-wee ones of yours all about the important stuff, so future generations will have faith in faith, too. xoxo

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  29. Your story brings tears to my eyes - what your mom said is absolutely perfect, and makes me feel 1000% better about accepting our blessing, and strengthens my resolve to spread blessings to others. I know exactly what you mean about wondering how things will come together, but it truly is amazing and miraculous how generosity does seem to be rewarded.


    And that's SO COOL about your son saving up his money like that - a wonderful lesson, and a fantastic thing to celebrate! So happy for you and yours, and I hope all the joy keeps rolling in for you in 2014.

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