Posted by: morrowsl | December 15, 2014

Christmas Memory, Day 15:

I’m in a creative group on Facebook, and this month we’ve been writing about our memories from past Christmases.  I thought I had just about run out of things to write about, but today this memory was sitting in my brain’s inbox, waiting for me to review it and send it on its way.  I think there’s an important message in this memory.  For me.  For my family.  And for anyone else that cares to look.  Thanks for reading.

Christmas Memory, Day 15:
I was twice-divorced with two kids living in a govt subsidized two-bedroom apartment with a cracked toilet seat, practically non-existent heating and a/c, and about 8 million cockroaches. NOT where I wanted or expected to be at that point in my life, but it was what I could afford with zero child-support, no education, and two minimum-wage jobs.

Cue the music… “in the bleak midwinter…”

But I had cash money every day from waiting tables and I was determined we would have a Christmas tree with lights and ornaments!! The three of us went to our local Treasure City department store and each of us picked out a box of glass ornaments. I got some lights from my parents and a tree from a stand in Tejanoville as I drove back home. We set the tree in a shallow stand that held maybe two cups of water, twisted the screws tight and tossed a white flat bedsheet over it. I strung the lights, then sat in the floor hooking our ornaments and handing them to the kids (mostly the oldest, since my son was a toddler and could only reach the low branches) to put on the tree. Then we all sat there and stared at our beautiful tree!!

And every year, on every tree we’ve had since, I pull out one of each of those ornaments and hang it.
Doing so reminds me that being poor is a frame of mind. I was rich beyond compare because I had my kids with me and we were safe.
It reminds me that cheap doesn’t always mean shoddy. Those ornaments might have cost me a couple of dollars a box back then, if that. But here they are, almost 40 years later, still shining out at us from the boughs of our tree.
It reminds me that I love my family, with all our flaws and issues and quirks.
And it reminds me that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I survived two devastating marriages, found a man who could love me just as I am, nurtured (in my own bizarre way) three kids to adults and, so far, none of them has done anything to make me think I totally screwed them up, and found a way to love myself in the process.


  1. I’m near tears! You are an amazing woman, wife, mother, grandmother and especially friend!! Your past made you who you are today, so…although I wish it had been easier for you, I’m thankful for it. Love you, Sheree!!

  2. It’s been a long road. But I’m still walking. And so very happy to have you there to hold me up now and then. Love you BIG, Elle!

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