You know, I read once upon a time that when children first stop believing in you, that's the first time they learn to question religion. Lord knows I've been doing that all my life, but this weekend you gave me pause.
I know that Amazon lets you send things anonymously because last year we participated in The Bloggess' giant charity match-up, and I'm sure you can guess on which end of benevolence we were. I venture you're probably someone I know, or someone who reads this blog with some regularity because you know we are a multi-celebrational household and you honored that in your message to me. You knew my email or where to find it and found it befitting to lend a hand out to a family barely catching a break, perhaps patting yourself on the back for being a good person and deservedly so.
But what you don't know, Santa, is that your timing couldn't have been more astute.
I've stopped bemoaning our financial situation here because really, we could have it much much worse. We still have a great deal for which we are grateful but perhaps we don't appreciate as much as we should. We know how to work the numbers to squeak by, month after month, paycheck by paycheck, and who wants to listen to some late twenties hipster bitch about money and the world when we're just living with the hand we've been dealt, doing the best we can with what we have.
But Santa, there is so much that you don't know about me and my family right now, and it seems only respectful to be straight with you.
You have no way of knowing that after bills and unexpected doctors visits and things like our car tags needing renewed that we have $100 for groceries, diapers, and follow up appointments for the next two weeks, for the four of us. You have no way of knowing that while we make sure the kids always have whatever they want to eat, we adults are eating barely enough to get by, sometimes making a sandwich and some yogurt last all day, so that there will be something to cook for dinner tomorrow while watching 60 Minutes talk about the working hungry and identifying with them so painfully you try not to cry because that won't do anything but dehydrate you and make you sick again.
You have no way of knowing that we have nothing in reserves for the first time in months, nothing to fall back on just in case we can't quite make it all meet up in the end. That the gas in our cars is what we have and that we're both growing out our hair because we can't even afford a cheap haircut and that this treading water we've been doing is starting to overtake us despite our best dead man's float.
You also have no way of knowing that before this last couple of weeks we'd been scrimping so that our kids could have a holiday season this year despite our hardship, buying things here or there with whatever we had at our disposal, trying to sell household goods so that we may afford a small gift or two for each other. You couldn't know that for the first year we'll have to pick between Hanukkah and Christmas because both is just too much, and that we're relieved the kids are too small to really notice, at least we hope.
But you sent us your gift anyway, on good faith perhaps, not knowing how desperately we needed it.
So I'm going to be honest with you, Santa. Your generosity won't be buying my children presents this year. Your gift will be paying for a case of diapers that otherwise would have halved our remaining budget. And for covering that case of diapers, we will be able to put food on the table for all of us for another couple of days until hopefully something on Craigslist sells or a check for freelance work comes in or some miracle happens to pull us through.
But know from the barest, proudest part of my soul that I could not thank you enough for what you have done. You swooped in right when you were least expected and most needed, and you gave us hope that we didn't have moments prior. We don't deserve the continued kindness we receive from people like you, and I swear to you I will pay it forward before the holidays pass us by.