Saturday, December 12, 2009

Hungry Holidays Ho Ho Ho

It was my son's 17th birthday this week. I was unable to get him anything. That fact has broken my heart. He asked me for $5.00 to add to the $5.00 he had so he could look for a winter coat at the Goodwill store. His search was unsuccessful. While we were snowbound at the new home, there was no school for three days and on Thur. we were all stir crazy. My oldest went with us to look for a coat at TJ Maxx. He found one for $40.00 and Sam got it for him along with some new headphones since his had broken. Then at Walmart, Sam got my son a Packers t-shirt to wear to tomorrow's game, and an inexpensive pair of gloves and hat. The night before Sam brought home an ice cream cake and treated the boys to Taco Bell. So I want to believe that my son had a birthday of sorts. He received a few things. Not much and some were necessities. It hurts the most that I was unable to shop and get him anything.

While we were at Walmart I found a decent looking jacket for only $7.00. I wanted my son to get it and then we'd return the $40.00 one from TJ Maxx. I truly thought it looked warm and sufficient. Sam agreed with my son that we should keep the more expensive one. I regretted that we'd gone to TJ Maxx first. If we'd gone to Walmart first my son would have probably been satisified with the jacket there. It kind of amazed me that I was in this Walmart (a store I rarely set foot in when my husband was alive), regretting the non-purchase of a $7.00 jacket! Who would ever have believed this would be my reality following my husband's death? Pinching and counting pennies out of necessity. Being unable to afford birthday or Christmas gifts for my sons.

I know this low point is just temporary. Once I start working life will improve. But while we're here it is such a low point to be. I feel dragged and sucked under the poverty, worry and anxiety. I am becoming obsessed with food again. I am not eating much, throwing whatever odds and ends can be put together and concentrating on feeding the boys. They seem to have stomachs that are bottomless. Everyone seems to be hungry. There is food at Sam's - nothing fancy but at least filling. I am here back at home for the weekend wishing I'd taken some from his home because our kitchen is bare. But the boys were so anxious to leave I didn't. I figured we could make it a couple days.

I have a vision of a Christmas tree just filled with food. Do you know the ones that they sometimes display hung with sugar cookies or gingerbread men? Two years ago I hung a tree in my kitchen just filled with gingerbread men. I used a glue gun to fasten red ribbon bows as hangers. It was very cute. Now I imagine a tree filled with ribboned chocolate covered pretzels. And those little chocolate ball and santa ornaments. And loads of sugar cookie angels and bells to keep company with the gingerbread men. I think I could be creative and come up with some other food items to hand up there too - candy canes, popcorn garlands...

My son told me today he feels down about not having any money to afford gifts for his friends. Last year I knit and crocheted some things for his then girlfriend - a pink scarf and ski band. I will offer to do that again. Maybe I can come up with something for his buddies - key chains or a wrist band. It is pretty lame I know. Needless to say I am not in much of a holiday mood and do not have much holiday cheer or spirit. I just want this absolute miserable year to be over - the year of my divorce and losing my home.


  1. I am sorry for your struggles. Thank you for sharing.

    I appreciated your comment on my post about "lesser losses"

    I just read an old post of yours and learned we have similar stories. My husband died of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and we too thought it was a "good" one to get. Didn't work out that way. We did the stem cell transplant as well.

    Take good care of yourself during this time of transition.


  2. Irene - I appreciate your stopping by to read this post and the one about my husband's illness (I don't even want to say the "c" word). As weird as this sounds, it is good to know someone else out there had a similar experience and shares some of the same feelings. I like the way you refer to this time in my life as one of transition. That is a much more positive way of looking at my life right now.

  3. I know it wasn't the birthday you wanted to give him, but I think with a few presents and a cake, your son still did all right. Next year will be better.

  4. Thank you Vanessa. I also need to remember that he is going to the Bears/Packers game on Sunday!

  5. I am humbled by your honesty and can hear the heartbreak in your words (about son's birthday).

    But I also hear hope ... Sam is there for you. The lack of food is now a temporary thing, rather than a never-ending worry (which you have also got through). You will work and earn money.

    Next year is the big 18th birthday ... you can spoil him then. Small compensation today, I know.

    I'm with you on 2009 going. It has been the worst year of my life, and for many people that I know :-(

    Bring on 2010 - NOW xx

  6. Boo, I'm glad that you have seen that there is some hope within this situation because when you're down, it can be hard to see. It helps to have others point this out. I will focus on next year or maybe even plan to celebrate my son's half birthday, which we have never done. But it may be in order given the circumstances of this year.