It's been a hard year for us, financially speaking. We have the most wonderful kids and baby Bitty is the sweetest thing! The Rock told me that she needed to come to our family to mellow him out, and she has. A lot. But I haven't worked since May when things got too difficult in my pregnancy. And The Rock's bipolar disorder has been flared up pretty bad this year so he hasn't worked consistently, too. As a result, we had to move from our condo to an apartment as the condo is in foreclosure, and we have been taken to court by the HOA and have faced some pretty nasty goings on.
There have been times I've despaired of things ever getting better and have, at times, been fairly suicidal. I haven't talked much about MY depression, but it is there. I have good days and bad ones, and I never know what it's going to be when I get up in the morning. Fortunately, more good days than bad have been happening lately, though the bad ones are still very bad.
We have had to get help from family and our church at times over the past months, and it is hard to swallow your pride and admit you can't do it all.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the gals in our church called and asked us if we needed anything for Christmas. She's in a leadership position and I knew she would keep it all confidential, so I said yes and told her a few of the needs for Little Mister and Runner Girl, mostly clothing. Toys we have. Entertainment we have. Clothing, she has, but not much in the way of uniform pants for school. He doesn't have very much warm clothing, though he does have a nice coat I bought last year that still fits and a great hat a friend made him, and boots that still fit from last year too. Then she asked if we needed anything for the baby. And I thought of the boxes and bags of clothing and things we've been given for her -- we have clothing for at least her first two years. Some of it was new but a lot was gently used, and I've had to purchase very little for her. She asked about stuff for The Rock and myself, but we are fairly well set, except The Rock needs a new hoodie/jacket. But nothing off the rack fits him so I'm making him one for Christmas (assuming I get over the intimidation factor and start sewing tonight). So really, we have very few needs, mostly just clothing for my son and some school clothing for my daughter. She wrote it all down and that was the last I'd heard from her.
My brother, The Architect, and his family had our family for Christmas this year, and they gave us our gifts at the family Christmas party tonight. Actually, he asked me for my keys and put it all in the car for me. (They also purchased a camera for us with the understanding we would pay them back, and I did tonight with the Christmas money my mom sent us.) When we got home, I popped open the trunk and saw 4 big presents and started pulling them out ... and then under that, there was a turkey, some cereal, pasta, and a bunch of other groceries. I couldn't remember when I'd gone to the store and bought a turkey so I stood there staring at it for a few minutes until it hit me that they'd gone above and beyond the normal gift exchange. We brought it all in and put it away, and I called and left a message thanking them for their generosity.
After I got the littles to bed, Runner Girl said someone had knocked and then called. I checked my voice mail and it was the gal from church. She'd left a bag of presents on our patio. It was 10:30 so I didn't call her back, but I did go get them. I will call her back tomorrow as she requested in the voice mail.
I have made some gifts for each of the kids and have a few more to finish up in the next few days, and that was really all I had planned on the kids getting for Christmas this year. The Rock, too. I have oodles of yarn and fabric and have sewn and crocheted and knitted a bunch the last few weeks getting those things done, and I know those gifts will be appreciated by my kids and husband, and I have found a few dollars here and there this week to send presents to a few friends and my little brother's family as well (we had them for Christmas this year, and all the gifts I've sent were made by me). I also know the things that we have been given by others will be very much appreciated by all of us.
The Rock has started stabilizing out and has been working more in the last two weeks. We are hopeful that that trend will continue, and that we will get back on our feet soon. But as I sit here, looking around this apartment, which has a full pantry, fridge, and freezer, furniture to sit and sleep on, electronics and many movies for entertainment, laundry piled up so I know we are blessed with clothing and blankets, a lopsided tree with presents finally under it, and my three little ones all asleep in their beds ... I realize we have indeed been abundantly blessed.