Finding a Little Christmas Magic

I've fallen off the editorial calendar wagon. It's okay, the grief counselor said not to commit to anything during this first holiday season without mami so, I'm cutting myself some slack and you should too! I'm taking a break from my nervous breakdown earlier today after finding that one of the awesome closet systems I purchased was missing some parts.  A few puffs into a paper bag after looking at the mounds of clothes, bags and boxes that I'd taken out of the closet and voila! I was good as new.  But, I digress.

Have I told you that I love the holidays?  From preparing for Thanksgiving to planning for the new year.  Always have. This time seems magical to me in so many different ways.  Last year, though, mami went in to the hospital on Christmas Eve as I made my way out of town. I'm still working to get over the guilt of that. I turned around and came right back but, the thought that I was not present on her very last Christmas day here on earth is hard to swallow.  Needless to say, I've been on a roller coaster of emotions over the last few weeks.  If you know me, I want to apologize in advance for not being myself.  I hope you understand.  If you don't well, then there are bigger problems to resolve like, how can I get you out of my contact list.

Mami loved Christmas.  She was a giver and I learned that little talent from her.  I love giving.  And this year it has been especially hard because as much as I want to pick something up for this person or that, I can't.  I got a couple of things for the frog princess and the monkey king and that's about it.  The rest of whatever "extra" cash I had has gone to my Bags of Blessings for Babies. I make each and every bag hoping that the person NOT getting a gift from me this year will understand that I've invested in a cause that's near and dear to my heart.  I aim to make these bags in mami's honor.  She loved children.  One day soon, I'll tell you about one of my earliest memories of giving.  In each one, she was very much present.

This week, I told my dad about my Christmas project and expressed how disappointed I was that I didn't think to start this earlier and how I'd love to be able to do more than the 12 bags that I plan on putting together with the help of a few of you who have donated.  And then it happened. The Christmas magic that I have fallen in love with over and over again.

I received a Tweet from Olive Garden:

It didn't refer back to any of my previous Tweets and at first I was slightly suspicious but, I contacted them.  Long story short, they wanted to help with my cause.  And I was shocked.  Speechless even.  I haven't really been able to put words to this until now.  An answered prayer.  Olive Garden wants to help me!  They are giving me a $500 Target gift card! What do you say to that?  Um, YES PLEASE!  I'm praying the card gets here in time for me to take advantage of the totally awesome Target sale that's going on.  They have the majority of the items that I need (snap tees, onesies, towels, blankets) on sale as a buy one, get one 50% off.  If that sale holds, I think I can put together 40 additional bags for these babies (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I took away the one and carried the three during that little bit of remedial math I was forced to engage in).

Thank you does not seem to be enough!  Not just for the mamis and babies that will receive a special package on a most special day when perhaps hope has been lost and they are wondering what will come next.  But for reminding me that in spite of everything that's going on, in spite of the rough year I have had, God still smiles down on me.  That people care about others.  That I'm on the right track as I continue to help others in spite of my circumstances.  And that there's still Christmas magic in my midst.

Have you had anything this week remind you of the magic of Christmas?