Jsack's Mom's Blog

Welcome to my blog where I share my special needs parenting journey with my heart, truth, and love, one story at a time. ❤️

Christmas traditions

Hello my name is Jsackmom and I’m a “Christmasholic” There I finally admitted it, I get very excited about the prospect of celebrating as I’ve always been fascinated with the magic of Christmas. I remember traditions from when I was a little girl and being at my Grandparents with their ceramic tree with plastics lights all lit up. 
It would sit on the china cabinet looking so tiny but beautiful, while I sat on the floor looking up at those lights twinkling in the evening glow. We would help my Mom and Gram prepare for dinner and get our pyjamas on then my sister and I would get our snack ready for Santa with our Mom’s help. We would put out the homemade shortbread cookies, carrots for the reindeer, and a cup of nice tea to wash it down with. My Gram would help us hang our stockings on the towel rod in the kitchen while my Grandpa looked on with a mischievous smile.
 You see those stockings were his socks that he loaned to my sister and I. Next we would go off to the living room and magically there would a present there on the floor for each of us. We would open it up knowing each year it would be the same, pyjamas, slippers, or a house coat. We didn’t care though it was the excitement of getting to open a gift on Christmas Eve that made the holiday more special. 
We would sit on the couch in our new sleepwear and sip on our hot chocolates while we sang Christmas carols and then my Mom and Gram would tell us the Christmas story of baby Jesus and the Nativity. I had always loved the story and still tell it to my children as our tradition. Then we would get sleepy, rubbing our eyes, and toddle off to bed. My sister would have the couch and I would have the blue cot that folded out. My Gram would push the coffee table up close do I wouldn’t roll out of bed. 
Sleep would find me late into night as the visions of sugar plums, turkey with all the trimmings, and toys to be had, would dance in my head. The next morning I would be bouncing around waking up my sister as I was delirious with excitement and more of a tough and tumble Tom girl than sliver bells and cockleshells and we would race to the kitchen to open our stockings. We would dig in and find candy, nuts, mandarin oranges, tiny little doll toys, and whatever else Santa could stuff in a men’s sock! 
Next we would go to the living room and see what else Santa brought us. There would be a Barbie for my sister and I would have a doll complete with accessories of a hair brush, bottle, and outfit. We would also open clothes, books, more candy, and always a religious item of a holy statue. My Mom always made sure we put the Christ in Christmas as to never forget the true meaning of the holiday. 
We would say Grace and have a hearty breakfast as we would go off to our relatives to visit and play with our toys with our cousin. We would always have baking, copious pots of tea, and plenty of singing and dishwashing. We would return back to my Grandparents while my Grandpa would shovel the sidewalk and make his strong coffee in his special pipe whistle cup afterwards. We would help in the kitchen preparing dinner as my four other siblings would join the festivities. My Gram and Mom would fill the coffee table full of appetizers, fruit cake, cookies, a mixture of nuts, hard candy, and liquorice. 
The teapot would never be empty long and we would start preparing to set the table while setting up in the living room with my Gram’s fine Christmas China that would be laid out on the table. There would be at least ten people there and my Gram would say the blessings and my Grandpa would carve the turkey. I would marvel at all the delicious food and watch one of my brothers say “pass the buns” while my other brother would throw him down one at the end of the table. I would laugh and have my bowl of tossed salad mixed with croutons and olive oil. I loved how my Gram would make that for me. 
My plate would be heaping with mounds of mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, veggies, dark turkey meat, a little gravy, and I would eat my weight in my Gram’s homemade stuffing. After we would clear the table, drink tea, and enjoy pumpkin and lemon meringue pies. My Mom loved the lemon so it was always a staple at the dinner table. After us kids would go out to the foyer and play and have our pictures taken on the steps to the upper floor in the apartment building. 
Then the night would wind down, my older siblings would leave for home, and my sister and I would be getting ready for bed in our new Christmas pyjamas. We would lay there as sleep would come quickly after a fulfilling and wonderful day. We would fill that tiny two bedroom apartment with presents, laughter, decorations, Santa with his sleigh full of toys, and most of all the presence of our love for each other. As we got older and Santa came to the houses of younger children we would go to midnight mass with my Mom and Gram.
 I remember seeing the church’s alter glowing with all the lights. I would listen to the priest speak of that first Christmas Eve when baby Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Then the choir would rise up in voices of pure love and sing O little town of Bethlehem. My voice would ring out with them feeling exalted on high like nothing could touch me, as my spirit was raised to the heavens. I wept in those moments as my earthly vibration would thunder through my body like I was floating. There was magic in the air on that night and I’ve never felt more loved or connected to God, Saints, and all his angels. Being raised that way was a gift, and one I will continue with my children as they grow in the love and spirit of Christmas. To think it all started with that one little ceramic tree perched up high. 

Stock photo provided by the internet

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These Eyes of Mine

I look at these eyes of mine ,bluer than blue staring back at me from the mirror. The crystal blueness takes me back as I see one tear slipping across my cheek. There’s a vast ocean of pain that these eyes of mine hide. I do my best to deal with it, hide it, and keep it all in until it’s pouring forth like a waterfall of emotion. I think to my past and wonder if I could’ve been better. A better daughter, sister, aunt, and friend. I think of all these roles I played from a young age. I became an aunt at the age of six, and I was quite used to being the youngest child in my family. 

I sat on my Dad’s lap and watched my big brother holding this tiny baby. I had a mixture of emotion as I looked at him. Curiosity, excitement, and yes even jealousy. My Dad had left when I was four I remember it all too well; the crying, shrieking, and red hot anger of my Mom as she chased him out of the house. He was running for his life as she brandished a knife, and I knew this was a women on the edge between sanity and survival. He had pushed her to a breaking point and she had pushed back. My Dad left, ran out of our house and didn’t look back. He took on a new family, responsibilities, and lived in their home. 

I visited every weekend and holidays and this never felt like my home.  I was a guest and nothing more, and I struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin. This wasn’t my Mom, bedroom, or backyard. This was too much newness for a little four year old girl to understand. I didn’t feel like I was special, wanted, or appreciated. I remember attending kindergarten in the fall. I was badly in need of a haircut and it was picture day on Monday. This would be my first and last haircut that my step Mom ever gave me. I couldn’t sit still the bowl on my head was heavy and cumbersome. The hairs tickled my nose and made me sneeze. It was an overstimulatmg sensory experience and everyone just thought I was misbehaving. I was called a brat and left on my own after that. 

I looked in the mirror and saw this ragamuffin hairdo and I cried bitterly the rest of the weekend. My first Kindergarten picture and I looked like I had cut my hair with a butterknife! My Mom was furious and tried to fix it but the damage was done. I couldn’t even smile for that Godforsaken picture. It tore me up inside to look so ridiculous. The taunts, jeers, and stares overwhelmed me. I spent more time hiding or throwing my fists around to avoid any confrontation. I was no stranger to it in fact I welcomed it, then someone knew I was there and mattered. After that hideous haircut I avoided going near a pair of scissors or that stool again. 

Then just like everything that floats around elementary schools and germ warfare I got lice at the age of six. I was horrified and scared about what was happening to me as I scratched my head until it bled. My Mom blamed my Dad, my Dad blamed my Mom and I was sent to stay with my Grandparents for a week. I remember sitting in the purple clawfoot tub as my Gram rubbed pink calamine lotion over my head, neck, and eyebrows. I felt that hot water pouring over me and watching those dead bugs lying in the tub. As they swirled down the drain my tears mixed with the pink liquid as it streamed down my face and into my eyes. It burned a lot, but not as much as my hot humiliation of having contracted the condition anyway. 

These eyes of mine have seen a lot of pain, hidden a lot of lies, and have yet continued to be my windows of truth. These are memories I’ve stored away in the tiny box that I’ve buried in my mind. Then something will trigger it and like Pandora’s ill fated box it will open up again. These emotional scars I wear on my heart threaten to overtake me at times. I watched something tonight about children and what their Father represented to them. Some said pride, confidence, anger, pain, love, and nothing but emptiness because he was gone. This struck a nerve with me. A jangling nerve trigger that was hanging in the balance. And my bluer than blue eyes welled up with tears while I struggled to gain my composure. My children will never know of my pain, they will never experience that uncertainty or need to doubt their existence. They will know only love, guidance, respect, and firmness when discipline is needed. They will know only of my joy and gratitude when they blessed me with their arrival.  They will know that they are and will always be, the key to my heart. ❤️

 

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