As if being a single momma isn't hard enough the holidays can often make it even harder.  I remember the year my momma's Christmas Spirit was renewed because of one magical act of kindness.

NOT AN IDEAL SITUATION

When I was eight years old my parent's divorced and we moved from Owensboro to Toledo, Ohio.  I can honestly say with all my heart even writing about it makes me cringe.  As much as I don't like to use the word I "hated" living there.  I was taken from a place where my family lived and moved 400 plus miles away around strangers.  Now, I did have two brothers that lived there but the rest of my family was in Kentucky.

We had finally gotten our feet under us a little and moved into our own house after living with my brother for a time.  The house wasn't anything to brag about but it was home.  Momma poured all her money into paying bills and worked two extra jobs just so that I could take dance lessons in Sylvania at O'Connell's Dance Studio.  I remember this particular year so well.  You see momma and I had a very mature and open mother/daughter relationship.  We talked about everything and she was very honest with me about life.

I was 11 and she sat me down to tell me about Santa.  It was not a conversation she took lightly.  She explained to me that parents sometimes help Santa because he has to make the trip to so many homes and this year he may not make it to ours.  She asked me if I understood.  I told her I did and this was the first time I think I realized who Santa really was.  I'll never forget the tears in her eyes and the defeat in her posture.  Momma worked so hard for everything we had and it broke her spirit knowing she wasn't going to be able to provide for me that year.

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A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE & THE GOODNESS OF OTHERS

We decorated that year with a very small tree because it was all we could afford.  When my parents divorced my momma lost almost everything, still she made what we had perfect.

I attended dance class at least two to three times per week.  We would be gone for at least three hours because of the drive.  I'll never forget pulling up to our house and walking up the sidewalk.  You see our house sat back off the road and we had a small enclosed porch you had to walk through before you got to the door.  Momma was ahead of me and noticed our front door was cracked and she could see the light inside was on.  She turned to me and quietly whispered "get back in the car right now and lock the doors".  I did just that.

As I watched terrified at what might happen momma came rushing out with tears running down her cheeks and the biggest smile on her face.  She said "ANGEL you won't believe it!"  I ran inside to find presents everywhere in our living room.  They were perfectly packaged and the tags read "FROM SANTA."  As we began to open them they were all things we both had wanted but never told anyone.  The clothes were a perfect size and Momma even got the most beautiful Christmas sweater.

We didn't really know a lot of people and never found out who "SANTA" was but I have a hunch it was the sweet elderly couple that lived next door.  They were always checking on us and sending baked goods over the fence.  Momma didn't discuss our business with anyone but somehow I think they knew.

That night renewed my momma's spirit.  I saw a sparkle that hadn't been there.  I am forever grateful to whoever it was that left those gifts but even more for the love they showed a single momma and her daughter in a strange town, down on their luck, and needing a little extra love for the Christmas season.  Even as an adult when I think back on this it keeps me in the Christmas spirit and helps me believe there truly are good, loving, and caring people in this world.  Whoever they were helped add to the person I am today.

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