Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

My Christmas Super Bowl June 29, 2007

Filed under: Lacko Family Chronicles — rjlacko @ 6:34 pm
Tags: ,

The holiday season is finally here. To be honest, I’ve been looking forward to Christmas since, well, before Halloween. I love this time of year! Yes, it’s true, I’m one of those people who love to shop for Christmas gifts, who think nothing of planning meals for big crowds of cousins, aunties and uncles, and, when all the gifts are wrapped, the hall is decked and the cookies iced, I find myself seeking out new recipients for presents I still need to find, wrap and deliver. Christmas is my Super Bowl.
For years, some of those recipients have been kids involved in the Angel Tree Project, part of a non-profit organization where presents are given to the children of prisoners on behalf of their incarcerated parents. This year, when I chose my “angels”, tears came to my eyes when I read a father’s note to his 5-month-old: “I’m so proud of you.” This man quite possibly has never even seen his infant son. He has requested that pajamas be given to the child, however, being a mother, I know perfectly well how far PJs go, and added diapers and a cuddly bear to his present. Another prisoner asked that his or her 5-year-old receive an arts and crafts gift. Considering that Christmas decor inevitably requires at least one trip to Michael’s, it’s certainly no trouble for me to browse the children’s aisle.
My husband, however, yearly scoffs at my participation in this charity. As far as he’s concerned, we as a society are already paying too much to support those who’ve broken the law. A prisoner has access to health care, fitness equipment, education, regular meals, television and the Internet, among hundreds of other subsidized programs–more than a poverty-stricken family enjoys, certainly. We should also pay for their children’s Christmas gifts?
Personally, I imagine these innocent little children on Christmas morning. The first insult: daddy or mommy hasn’t been there in months. Second, there is little or nothing for them, because daddy or mommy made some very poor choices and are stuck behind bars. Is it their fault? I also picture the incarcerated parent; Just because they made some wrong turns in life, should I presume that every last prisoner thinks nothing of their child, doesn’t miss their baby? Doesn’t wish to show that little one that mommy or daddy is thinking of them?
As I said, Christmas is my Super Bowl. While I don’t have a big screen TV, I do have a big, gorgeous tree with both pretty storebought ornaments and a lifetime of handcrafted ones. I have the entire day to spend happily with my family and friends, eating, laughing and cheering for “my team”, the birth of my Savior. However, like the Super Bowl’s inflated ticket price, legendary advertising costs and flashy half-time extravaganza, Christmas can get a little out of hand.
To that end, for the first time, this year I will help deliver the Angel Tree gifts to their intended
angels. While the crew that organizes the drive could always use another pair of hands, my purpose is deeper than that. I want to share the tenderness I feel for them even as I read their parent’s gift request. I want to see Christmas from their eyes.
When I went online to learn more about the organization, I came across this article by Frederick Meekins for American World View. In it, he echos my husband’s opinion, calling the project “dubious moral logic.” He describes the program as “inadvertently rewarding criminals for criminal behavior,” and suggests that “maybe economically challenged parents ought to consider going out and committing a crime so their progeny might have a shot at a decent Christmas.”
The truth can only be deducted when faced head on. This year, I’ll see for myself.

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