Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Please Don't Forget About Us

Hi regular readers! Be aware that there were two blog posts today, so make sure you catch the one before this one as well!




Last Christmas the woman who runs the food pantry that I go to called me and told me that she was filling out paperwork to put the kids and I on their Angel Tree and said that she had to ask me a few questions. I told her that there must have been a mistake because I had not signed up for the Angel Tree Project. The Angel Tree is a Christmas tree that is placed in a public location. It is adorned with ornaments, each ornament holding the information of a family needing help.

“Oh no, there is no mistake. I knew you didn’t do it because you are so damn stubborn so I’m doing it for you,” said the booming voice on the other end of the phone; a voice that belongs to a woman who knows me better than I would like to admit.

I think my reply landed somewhere around “uh….yea, no thanks.”

“Eden! Stop thinking about yourself and start thinking about your kids! What are you buying them for Christmas? I’ve watched you struggle for a year now and I want to make sure that you guys have a nice Christmas. Now don’t waste my time and answer my damn questions!” replied the voice in an even louder tone than before.

She actually scared me a little bit.

By the time the phone call was over I had let her know that both kids needed pants, the boy child needed crib sheets, the girl child needed gloves and a hat. She had also pried out of me that Barbie’s and tractor toys would be most appreciated. She still wouldn’t let me off the phone until I admitted that I myself needed socks, a spatula, and a frying pan.

She took my info, put it in an envelope, and hung it on their Angel Tree for someone to choose and then subsequently sponsor us for Christmas.

A week later she called me and told me that our family had been chosen and that the sponsors promised to take care of us for Christmas. I won’t lie, a relief swept over my heart and I had an extra kick in my step that day. It felt good to know that someone cared.

A few days later the Toys for Tots (a program that I had actually enrolled my kids in) pick-up day came around and I lugged my embarrassed face and weary heart to the pick-up location to receive whatever toy had been designated to my children. Imagine my surprise when we were given a very nice, very generous, kitchen play set….that we already had. I only let it disappoint me for a minute before I wrapped it up and dropped it off with another struggling single mom I know and wished them a very Merry Christmas.

“It was meant to be” I thought as I reminded myself that someone else was so graciously taking care of us that Christmas.

A week later I showed up bright and early at the Angel Tree Project pick-up day only to be told that the family sponsoring us hadn’t brought anything, but was told they had been contacted and had assured the food pantry that they would drop our items off the next day. The woman with the booming voice and kind heart told me that she would call me as soon as the items arrived.

The next day came and went without a call, as did the next day, and the next. On the fourth day I called the food pantry back and was greeted by the booming voice. “Eden! I was just going to call you. I talked to your sponsor this morning, she is extremely sorry, but assured us that the items will be here on Monday. I know Christmas is Wednesday and I know how busy you are, so I will drop everything at your house on Monday night after your kids go to bed.

Monday came and while I was waiting for my doorbell to ring, my phone rang instead. “Eden, I haven’t been able to get a hold of them, I’m really sorry. I don’t know what happened but I think it’s pretty clear that they aren’t going to be bringing you guys anything for Christmas.”

My heart fell to the floor. It was 7pm, Christmas Eve was the next day, and the person “sponsoring” us had literally stolen my children’s Christmas dreams come true. They had taken our info off the Angel Tree leaving no one else the opportunity to sponsor my kids and then had bailed on us completely.

Christmas Eve was the next day and I had no idea what I was going to do, I had been counting on our sponsor to give my children the Christmas that I couldn't.

My hopes had been up for weeks and as high as they were before, they had fallen just as far to the ground below me where they shattered with the visions I had of my children smiling on Christmas morning.

All season I had set aside my pride, set aside any shred of dignity I had left in the hopes that my children would be able to have some semblance of the Christmas I so desperately wanted them to have. I had done the only thing that I could and had tried to embrace the idea that if I wanted to provide what was best for my children, that I needed to understand that someone else could provide a little bit better for them than I could.

Now I was devastated. Not only did I feel the weight of my shame and failure, I felt rejected.

Sadly this is an all too common occurrence. People go into the holiday season with the best intentions of giving back to mankind, and somewhere along the way, in between seasonal parties and shopping, Christmas pageants and holiday baking, their intentions fall by the wayside to other more “important” obligations.

Today I wrote an article that kicked off Scary Mommy’s Thanksgiving project. It reminded me that soon opportunities to give back are going to be popping up all over the place. “Bring in a canned good for the Thanksgiving food drive. Donate a toy to a child in need. Send a card to a soldier overseas.”

I know how busy this season is, trust me I am right there with you, but if I might take a minute to remind you, please remember us. Remember not my family specifically, but the people like me in your own communities who are needing a little extra help this holiday season.

Turn your intentions into commitments and your follow through into joy; joy when people like me are reminded that we are more than just the weight of the failure that we feel.

Remember those in need this season when you plan your holiday schedule, because you might be the only one that does.

The Angel Tree Sponsor had all but forgotten us, but thankfully a few other people didn't. My church and a friend thought of my kids and put the smiles on their faces that the Angel Tree Sponsor almost stole from them.

But it was a close call and those smiles could have very easily been tears.

The only difference between someone feeling loved during the holidays or not having a holiday at all, might just be you.


Photo Credits
Angel Tree
Toys For Tots
Broken Ornament
Stocking On Ground


  1. that was pretty poopy of them... don't really want to curse on here. Do you have a dollar tree or family dollar in your area? not sure what if anything you need. The things from there are cheap of course and easily break obviously, but a dollar per item is different than maybe 5 or 6 dollars per item. Even though more expensive is more durable.

    1. Agreed, it was extremely rude :( Not a bad idea with the dollar store!

  2. Having read this and the article in Scary Mommy's I'm just wondering why is it that we find it so empowering, natural and meaningful to help others (while not feeling that they should be ashamed or lose their self respect for taking), to give, but refuse feeling good about someone else ensuring our world is a safer and a better place. Maybe it could be a joy accepting others help sometimes when you need it, because you know how strong sense of meaning and happiness comes from that? Anyways, sorry your angels fell. Hope you'll have real angels this year making it brighter.

    And thank you for writing more often - you can still make a difference, give gifts and volunteer in helping people in need this way too. Seems like you always find a way!

    1. You know I wrote a post about that, I think it was back in January called "you deserve it too" and another one was "nothing but a burden." I was talking about how hard it is to accept help and why I have a hard time accepting it. The readers had a lot of good insight into this topic. You guys are all so much smarter than me!

      Thank you for your sweet words and I'm glad you found your way here :)

  3. after thinking about it I can't help wondering if the "family" was actually your ex husband.

  4. That's terrible that those people said they'd sponsor you and then didn't. I'm with Evelyn. That was very poopy of them. I'm so sorry that happened.

    Are you doing the tree this year?

    1. Gah....I don't know....I don't want to get burned twice.....

  5. Eden, I haven't been here in a long time...I don't even know where to start. I just want to share my gratitude to you. I am fully OK with not speaking with my father now, which is how I ended up here so many moons ago (how to disown a parent)...but things got so rough...Not sure I can do a reading marathon this time to catch up...but all I have to say is I am so happy you checked out Scary Mommy...I'm so happy I suggested it ;) I hope it helped a bit. So much love to you my dear...Nathalie

    1. Hey stranger! I was wondering where you went. I hope you are ok and I've missed seeing your comments around here.

      Thanks so much for the Scary Mommy suggestion, I owe it all to you!