A Christmas Present

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As a mother, I often feel like I am on the front lines of culture wars. This year I didn’t go Black Friday shopping. But two days later, I was forced to brave Walmart for milk (no blizzard pending).

The scene was so quiet, so serene, and the Christmas aisle was like my own pine-scented paradise. Except I was all alone. There was no warmth.

The whole endeavor to find an advent calendar was fruitless. In fact, I found nothing among the Christmas items but gift-related products. Wrapping paper, bows, gift tags, and tape.

Isn’t Christmas about spending time together?

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The Year My Husband Stole Christmas

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Five years ago, there was no tree, no stockings, and no cheesy Christmas card. I remember the pictures we took that season. I forced every smile.

To be honest, our marriage had crumbled. Sure, every friend and family member who was happily anchored offered sound advice:

“Never go to bed angry.”

“Always say I love you.”

And my personal favorite, “You’ll always have each other.”

But a miscarriage ruined everything. I wanted to keep trying. My husband wanted to finish his PhD. And it seemed we were in pursuit of different children.

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If You Take a Child to a Christmas Party

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It was one of those moments that makes you question your ability to parent your own child. My son, clearly in distress, was scratching his tongue. Our family was enjoying the festivities of our first holiday party of the season, and I had practiced great care in preparing my son a plate of hors d’oeuvres.

I’ll admit that I was a little more than excited when I saw something green. My son loves bell peppers, and the stove offered up a dish of stuffed pepper slices. I grabbed two. What better way to balance a toddler meal of mostly corn chips and crackers?

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Monsoon Togetherness

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When I was in graduate school, I worked with several Indian students and these relationships were defined by the questions we asked one another. There always seemed to be something to learn. One day I asked a female co-worker, “Do you miss monsoon season?”

Her response was not quite what I expected: “I do. I miss everyone being inside together, even though there were many of us.”

In my mind, I imagined damp clothes, mildew, and body odor. What could ever be redeeming about such an environment? In truth, I had trouble seeing past the external to consider the internal.

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