Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting Just What You Want

Fatima and I in an add we did for a local consignment shop.
One of the largest things in land-fills is old discarded clothing

If you don’t know who you are, you’ll never know what you want

This time of year is wonderful for me. I don’t have to rush to the malls or stand in long lines hoping to get just the right gift for anyone at all. My friends and family know that they can expect presents from me throughout the year. They are always surprised by something I hand them and will all ask, “What’s this for?” I’ll tell them that they can decide, birthday, Christmas, Kwanza, or just because I love you. “Happy I love you.” Everyone is always overjoyed with their unexpected present.

 My children have been “blessed” to have a mother who believes in giving them the best education and a wonderful life. Of course they will all tell you that I have missed the mark, but I’m writing this, so there. The kids have also learned that the after Christmas sales will take their money a lot further and so like me, they shop when everyone else has left the store.

We also spend efforts throughout the year trying to do for those who have less than we do and as a result, I have always gotten exactly what I wanted for Christmas.

My mother raised her 7 children with very little money, so we hardly got anything at all. What we had every Christmas was a house full of family, laughter and lots of wonderful homemade food. There were fresh fruits and all kinds of nuts throughout the house. The smell of a fresh turkey baking filled our home and we were all together.

A few of my siblings have strayed from my mother’s ways, but I have not. My sister Christine and I still have a “family” gathering and we still cook. We give cards and money to some of our older relatives and to the people who have touched our lives with their work and this is good.

Yesterday, I got one of the best presents ever; my daughter Fatima re-gifted to me a joke I played on her years ago.

When she was about 12 years old, she begged for a pony. She asked, begged, cajoled and threw tantrums. I laughed the entire time. I was raising the five children I had inherited and was doing it on my own. They all had learning differences and required private education and tutoring. My mother also lived with me and at that time was having some health challenges. To say that I was carrying a lot is a gross understatement. But dear Fatima thought that she should have a pony. One day we drove past several horses in a field and she began her “I want a pony” fit. I couldn’t take it any more so I told her that that her pony was in that field and it had been there, but she hadn’t come to get it. I kept spinning the story and told her that this field was the field of dreams and whatever you dream appears in it. If you want something though, you have to come and get it otherwise your dream will just be out here in this field waiting for someone else to claim it.

At that moment, Fatima grew up. She stopped crying and said, “I understand.” She said, “If I want something I have to go and get it.”

That was the last time my baby asked for a pony. At first I was happy to not have to hear the constant whining but then I missed my little girl just being a baby.

My mother used to say that everything comes back around; you just have to live long enough and pay attention. So yesterday, I not only got my gift back, I got to laugh that big laugh that comes from the gut and removes all of the old mess. Fatima asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I told her the same thing I have for years, “You know that all I want is world peace and you can give it to me by being peaceful and by creating peace wherever you go.”

Fatima smile and grabbed me by the shoulders. She looked me in the eyes, which is always a beautiful thing. Fatima has huge golden colored eyes which she uses to look right into you. “I got you that world peace you wanted years ago.” She said, “It’s out in the field of dreams right next to my pony.”

I laughed and laughed and she laughed with me. I had forgotten all about the pony and the field of dreams, but she had not. Later in the day, she told me that she would wonder what her pony was doing and how she could get it. I apologized and told her that I was stressed and tired most of her childhood and that I just wanted her to stop harassing me about a dang pony.

She smile and said, “I understand, NOW!”

As I look back over my “poor” mothering skills and the gift of my children, I realize just how miraculously all things really do work together, and that they do in fact come back round.

Every year at Christmas, I really do get everything I want; peace and joy. I don’t want to make this one of those rallying cries against materialism and I’m not going to scream about putting Christ back into Christmas. (Have you ever noticed that those who do are the same folks who have the biggest trees and the most lights?) I will state this; you will always be disappointed if you misplace your expectations.

You can have whatever you want and you can have it all year long. The real trick to life is in knowing what to want in the first place.

·         Make a list of what you want.

·         Next to it write what you truly need.

·         Whose life can you touch with something you have but no longer need?

·         Make someone laugh and enjoy their laughter.

Disappointments are only mis-appointed expectations.

Be Real, Be You, BE LOVE

Bertice Berry, PhD

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