Wait. As a child, this was a painful word around Christmas. Wait for the tree to go up. Wait for the cookies. Wait for the snow. Wait to see what I got.
Knowing what I now know about child psychology, I can rationalize my ego-centrism by saying it was perfectly natural. It was all about me. Then one evening after dinner, I overheard my parents talking at the dinner table. I was about eleven and was just beginning to understand the power of money. I heard my father tell my mother that he was worried about having the money to buy all four of us the presents we wanted for Christmas. My mother tried to ease the pain by saying she had taken on some extra drapery jobs (she had her own business) to make Christmas money.
At that moment, I realized it was not all about me. I gathered my siblings upstairs and told them we would only ask for those things my mother could make… she could make anything, gloves, scarves, sweaters, pajamas. And we would give to them only what we could make or offer in chores above the required. I couldn’t wait to tell them what we wanted. My sister said mittens, my brothers said pajamas, I said a red scarf. We gave handmade ornaments, under-cooked cookies, free oil changes (my brother worked at a gas station and was learning the trade).
Fast forward–it was the best of all Christmases–the wait was worth it. Years later my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said I’d love for her to knit me a Christmas sweater. Having no picture or a pattern, my mother knitted the sweater that is pictured here. I wear it every year. The tradition continues with great anticipation, waiting to see the joy of giving from what we make for each other.
Reflection by Nancy King, Psychology Program Co-Director