Friday, December 02, 2005

A Christmas Convert


Our Christmas Mascot


Several years ago, L took the kids Christmas shopping and came home with the moose in this picture. L got home, pulled the moose out of the bag, plunked him on our loveseat, and proudly announced: "That's where he belongs, every Christmas!" At that time, we didn't have a full sized couch; we just had a loveseat. That moose's pudgy butt took up half the seating space on the loveseat. I didn't argue. I just accepted the oversized moose as a new part of our family's Christmas traditions.

To me, the moose is a symbol of the huge Christmas fanatic I have made of my husband. When we were going together, the first Christmas I knew L, he refused to have ANYTHING to do with Christmas. He HATED Christmas!

The following Christmas, L and I were married. As a lifelong Christmas freak, I wasn't going to let his aversion to Christmas continue. While talking one night, I managed to pull the story of his Christmas hatred out of L.

L was in foster care from the ages of 1-11. He and his 2 brothers met his mother for the first time, in his memory, at the age of 11 in the Minneapolis Greyhound terminal. When L was around Z's age, his brothers conned him into being the lookout, while they kicked in the window of a liquor store. They were quickly caught and L was sent to the Lino Lakes boys reformatory and his brothers were sent to the Red Wing reformatory.

At Christmas, the Lino Lakes boys were allowed to go home for Christmas. L was sent home on the bus, as his mother didn't have a car. When he arrived at her apartment on Christmas Eve, the door was locked and no one was home. L sat in the hall and waited for her to come home. In the wee hours of the morning, his mother came stumbling in on the arm of a well known, local news anchorman. ( I won't mention this scumbag's name as he is now deceased. I wouldn't want to hurt his wife and children by telling this story online.) L's mother introduced L to scumbag and went into her apartment. Scumbag flipped L a quarter and said: "Go buy yourself a Coke, kid." Scumbag then went in the apartment and locked the door behind him. L hitch hiked back to Lino Lakes and spent Christmas with the janitor. His mother never questioned where he disappeared to.

I was in tears by the time L finished his story. My heart ached for the unloved child he had been. I told L that our life together was a new beginning for him. Christmas is a celebration of birth, and he WOULD be reborn into a LOVING family! Our first Christmas together, L was a bit hesitant. By the time our second Christmas rolled around, we had SME and L was hooked. He wanted to spend the rest of his life making beautiful Christmas memories for his children.

I am very proud of my "Christmas convert". He'll whine to other people that he HAS to carry in 13 boxes of Christmas decorations from the attic of our shed. He'll tell me that I'd better not buy any more decorations; enough is enough! Then he'll turn around and bring home a HUGE stuffed moose that takes up half of our loveseat. This is one of the many reasons I love L soooo much!

30 Comments:

At 12/02/2005 7:40 PM, Blogger SME said...

What's that in the moose's lap?

 
At 12/02/2005 8:27 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

That little reindeer that Grandma and Grandpa gave Z from Santa one year. Z thought he should sit on the moose's lap.

 
At 12/02/2005 8:44 PM, Blogger DaDog said...

Wow, I am a Christmass hater and that story got to even me!

 
At 12/02/2005 9:02 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Spread the spirit, Dadog!

 
At 12/02/2005 9:15 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

That's such a sad story. Sounds like he's lucky he found you.

 
At 12/02/2005 9:28 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

I still hate Christmas, and have ever since my parents split up when I was 19. We always had a good Christmas before with great memories and great traditions. Then the year my parents split, my Dad didn't have to be out of the house until December 1. He was still in the process of moving by Christmas and my parents were fighting bitterly over everything. My mom's parents had come from Ontario and they heard all of it. It was NASTY. My dad accused my mom of having a lesbian relationship with her lawyer (untrue - he was being spiteful and taking pot shots), etc. all within earshot of us. Christmas Day was awkward. My dad bought my mom a token gift which she turned her nose up at, and she didn't buy him anything which pissed him off. The whole thing was insane.

Since then, I haven't been into Christmas at all. When I got together with Aaron, I usually spent Christmas with his family, not my own, and I always felt homesick and lonely.

This year should be interesting. My first in 9 years without Aaron and WITH my own family. I can see it being a real roller coaster.

 
At 12/02/2005 9:30 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

That's what I keep telling him Squirl. ;)
Actually his brothers both married girls that were also from dysfunctional families. ALL of their kids are totally messed up!

 
At 12/02/2005 9:34 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

That WAS a nasty one WC! Thank God you were 19 and not 9.
This Christmas is all about starting NEW traditions for YOURSELF!

 
At 12/02/2005 11:26 PM, Blogger FunkyB said...

What a sad story, but an equally beautiful ending.

 
At 12/03/2005 12:38 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

and I bet it's one of thousands why he loves you!!!

YOu're certainly the right pair there!!!

sending you tons of love all year round, but especially at this beautiful time of year...Wonderful tale!!!

 
At 12/03/2005 12:39 AM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

p.s. I didn't mean 'tale' in a bad way. I meant 'story'...

 
At 12/03/2005 8:38 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Okay, that story is almost enought o make me, the original Grinch, enjoy Christmas.

 
At 12/03/2005 11:47 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Robin, I didn't realize what a sheltered life I'd led until I met L. His upbringing(or lack of) was alien to me.

I hope there's 1000s of reasons he loves me Bridg. I'm not ALWAYS the easiest person to live with. ;)

Mark, you're not a Grinch; you're a Teddy Bear!

 
At 12/03/2005 11:10 PM, Blogger SME said...

Tiny reindeer sitting on a moose's lap. Oooookay... :)

 
At 12/04/2005 10:17 AM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

You have me teary-eyed, TSHS. Nobody deserves to go through life unloved - I'm so glad L has you and that you have reintroduced him to the spirit of Christmas.

 
At 12/04/2005 12:10 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

SME, Z NOW denies doing this. Maybe the reindeer decided to sit there on his own?

Notta, I had a hard time forgiving his mother for actions like this.

 
At 12/04/2005 2:58 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

TSHS - I have the same problem with H's mom. She was "heavy handed" in raising him and now it affects every argument we get in (which is really not that often). He has this fear that I'll go ballistic on him, which I've never done. /sigh We all have our demons, I guess.

 
At 12/04/2005 10:34 PM, Blogger Shawn said...

The holidays seem to bring out the best and worst in people. It's nice that you guys have choosen to focus on the good and make great Christmas memories for your family. That's what the holidays should be all about.

 
At 12/05/2005 4:30 AM, Blogger Vest said...

Hello nice lady, Your L's Christmas as a 11 year old runs parallel in the misery stakes as Rosemary's L as a 10.5 year old circa 1935, quite a punishing period, then again you would remember that chapter.
I wish all of your lovely family a wonderful Christmas from our family in Australia.xxxx.vest daily gaggle.

 
At 12/05/2005 6:59 AM, Blogger Laura said...

John doesn't like all the decorations and he hates trees (because he was forced to help decorate them as a kid - there was no "choice" in his house growing up). But he likes the season. I could do without a lot of the tacky crap they sell now, but I like to put up some decorations. I get turned off by all the people who say they love the christmas "spririt" but then are the rudest people you'd ever meet.

 
At 12/05/2005 3:50 PM, Blogger Sadie Lou said...

aw. I loved this story! Thanks for sharing it with us...

 
At 12/05/2005 4:16 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Shawn, we've actually perfected our "holiday system" over the years. We've learned to sit back and enjoy our loved ones during the holidays.

Vest, I noticed a lot of similarities between L and Mr Spencer's lives. Fortunately Mr S and L found the right women to bring love into their lives.
I'm getting some pictures together to send you before Christmas. We enjoyed your pictures so much! Love ya!

I hear ya Laura! My boss becomes a total bitch every Christmas! She kills herself doing everything for appearances. We all have to slow down and enjoy the LOVE, which is what Christmas is all about!

Thanks Sadie. Unfortunately L's childhood reads like Oliver Twist. It's amazing that his loving spirit survived.

 
At 12/06/2005 6:01 PM, Blogger SME said...

Wow, a tiny stuffed reindeer that does stuff on its own! Cool. :)
Speaking of animals that don't belong together, have you noticed there are both penguins and polar bears in the Coke commercials? I think somebody needs to watch Animal Planet, heehee.

 
At 12/06/2005 7:03 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Silly girl, they were too busy dancing to eat each other. ;)

 
At 12/06/2005 9:24 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

What a wonderful story.

I love Christmas. I feel bad when somebody hates it. I'm so glad you were able to convert L to love it.

 
At 12/06/2005 10:36 PM, Blogger European said...

Very touching.
Congrats on the convert!
;)

 
At 12/07/2005 2:55 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

If I can't convert 'em, NOBODY can!! I take my holidays VERY seriously.

 
At 12/08/2005 11:48 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Wonderful story because of the ending. The childhood memories of your husband brought tears to my eyes.

I can't stand the financial strain of Christmas. I love the lights, the creche's, the cookies baking, the fire in the fireplace, the hot cocoa. Those are the memories I hope that my kids recall fondly.

What it comes down to is being in a loving and safe family. That's what is important.

 
At 12/09/2005 7:54 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Oh! I just wanted to reach back in time and slap his mother senseless! So glad there are happy endings in life, no matter how horrible the beginnings. Nice story.

 
At 12/09/2005 4:44 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

You said it ALL Monica! People who hate Christmas just aren't keeping it in the proper perspective.

Voyeur, thanks for bringing your 1st class brain over here!
None of L's friends could believe how much he changed after he married me. I tell them that he didn't change. I could see the real person locked away inside. I just let him feel safe enough to let his real personality out.

 

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