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Christmas 2013

Christmas 2013

Many years ago, I rode in the passenger’s seat from Portland, OR down to San Francisco with a co-worker. The plan—I was going to meet my husband who was in the bay area on a business trip.

Although my friend was “pedaling” fast, I still remember seeing him. In Ashland, OR, there was this guy on the side of the road all decked out in a green outfit from the big ears to bells on his pointy shoes. He looked just like an elf. Just as I noticed him, he turned around and ran up the side of the hill. Some people might find this story believable considering Ashland is well-known for its theater buffs and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. However, there was one small problem with my sighting…it was in the middle of the hot summer when I saw one of the elves that should have been relaxing at the North Pole.

Well, I know what it’s like to be teased unmercifully. I was sure my mother-in-law thought I was losing my mind when I shared with her about seeing the green elf. She and my husband’s sister seemed to get a good laugh at my expense. No worries; I don’t live in a make-believe world.

Surprisingly, months later on Christmas, I received the most beautiful gift from my mother-in-law. She had bought me a 2-foot elf from a fancy store that sold China. My elf even had a music box and such a delicate porcelain face. Oh, it didn’t matter if the joke was on me; I loved her thoughtfulness, anyway.

I’ve found that tragic accidents do seem to happen when you move as many times as I have over the years. Once while packing, I dropped my elf and its face shattered. I was heart-broken. Holding the cute memory in my arms, it was a struggle to part with my elf.

This year in particular, I have really missed my elf. Several of my friends on Facebook are having such fun-loving adventures with their adorable elves. Although, my elf was very fragile, I could have still found ways for the two of us to enjoy the season. I thought maybe buying a selection of festive elf socks would numb my loss of him for the holidays, but I wanted to keep quiet after starting my newest collection. A long time ago, when I used to wear one green and one red sock, my daycare parents felt sorry for me. Twenty-four pairs of Christmas socks later and counting, I felt very much loved.

I treasure those unexpected moments in life.

One morning recently, after taking one of my daycare boys to school, my husband, David, said there was someone in the car who wanted to meet me. Lying on the couch half asleep, I sighed, “It’s cold outside.” Wrapped up in a blanket, wearing my Christmas socks, I ventured outside and peeked around the corner at our car. The truth is you can probably pull a prank on me when I am not quite awake.

I was sure my husband had picked up a homeless person. I had just mentioned to him that when the temperature dropped to the low teens that I wanted to go take the homeless some of our left-over turkey. Joking, David tried to say in a serious tone, “Why don’t you bring them all here?”

“No, that is not safe,” I answered him feeling annoyed by his silly notion.

I had no doubts that my husband had done it this time. Looking closer at the car there was indeed a funny-dressed person with a huge smile sitting in the passenger’s seat. Walking slowly over to the car, I started giggling hard as tears ran down my cheeks.

I am sure my late mother-in-law is laughing. No better present from my thoughtful husband for Christmas 2013 than Ashland, my very own life-sized cloth elf. We plan on being friends for life.


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  1. Well written! Thanks for sharing I really connected with this one. Peace and Love!
  2. So sad, what a terrible experience. and I know it was only one of many for you. Love you friend!!!
  3. This fills me with sadness: “No child should have to continually try to make a parent love them.” What a tragedy that your mother was not able to accept love from you. My guess is that deep down, she didn’t feel lovable, and she had to cover that shameful fact up with a bunch of br…
  4. It’s insane that these findings were made but nothing was done about it. All these years later, you are still waiting for the wrongs to be righted.
  5. I love you❤