The Ramblings of an Active Mind ……………………………… Elizabeth Tobolski Dudak

Merry Christmas….Gifts

Yesterday, I went to see Irving Berlin’s White Christmas with my daughter at a local theater.  It was a corny production, and truth be told, my mood was not the best.  This year, Christmas spirit has not been in me.  The stress of working full-time for the first time in my married life during the Holidays seemed to hit me and hit me hard.   I have channeled Scrooge at times with a bit of Grinch thrown in.  And yesterday, try as I might to hold it at bay, there was this underlining crabbiness in me causing me to snap a few times at my daughter.  Yes, my mother of the year award was a bit tarnished.  My daughter fed off my mood and was agitated at me.  Who can blame her?  A few tears ran down my cheek by the end of the show when they sang that signature song.  I wish I could say I was moved by the feeling of Christmas, but that wasn’t the case.   I cried for the absence of that feeling.  In fact, right after the show ended, I had to hurried us out of there so I can pick up a last minute gift and get home before rush hour.  What a way to ruin a possible good moment!

I think Marley and Cindy Lou Hoo must have visited me this morning.  How else do you explain waking up with my belly flipping and thinking “it’s Christmas Eve.  It’s Christmas Eve.”  (Yes, I do tend to repeat myself even in my own thoughts.)  While I laid there, I looked back on this Holiday season.  Pushing the stressful feelings aside, I began to think of the unexpected gifts I received.  I work at a school with some very generous teachers and parents.  I thought about the gifts they gave, and not just the ones wrapped in paper, but the kind words and the shared jokes and the great moods they brought into the office. A particular teacher told me I was beautiful person and then wished me a Merry Christmas.  Her compliment touched me to the deepest part of me and I fought to hold back my tears as she gave me this….gift.

I  also thought about the laughter my daughter and I have shared since she came home from college, including our belly laughs at the show yesterday. Yes, even in the midst of agitation and crabbiness, we laughed.  Not only that, she thanked me at the end of the night for “such a great day”.  She took the bad and thought of the best.  It reminded me I must do the same. Her kind teaching was such a …. gift.

As I took my good mood out of bed with me and headed downstairs to bake the Kolascky I had not yet made, I went onto to Facebook.  An old classmate sent me a post about writing.   She knew I was questioning myself…okay, always questioning myself….on my success as a writer.  The words were beautiful and uplifting.  What’s more ,for her to take the time to think of me,  surprised and moved me. It was such a thoughtful… gift.  

Despite my Holiday mood this year, I have come to a very Christmas realization.  Gifts come in surprising ways – a gracious compliment, laughter shared despite ugly moods, a kind thought, a revealing posting.  Sure I love the packages wrapped in sparkling paper and tied up neatly in glittering ribbon. Sometimes, I don’t want to unwrap as the time someone took to wrap is a gift within itself….but of course I do. However, for me this morning, I do believe the best gifts of all are the ones without a price or pretty ribbons and bows.  For those are what will put you in the spirit and will move you to share some of your own.  So…..Merry Christmas.  May it be filled with the unexpected….gifts.





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