I don't even know where to begin. Perhaps you would like to hear about the fact that the kids were so excited by the sheer number of gifts under the tree that they were up and down all night wondering, "Is it time to get up yet?" We are talking at 2:00 a.m., again at 4:30, and finally at 5:45. Apparently at some point I had told them that I would NOT get out of bed before 6:00; I heard them all wake, and Steve kept poking me, and the very second the clock ticked over to 6:00, Eli popped up and sang, "Merry Christmas, it's time to get up!" Just to be naughty, then, I made them ALL wait in the bedroom while I went out and started to coffee and stood outside having a veeeeerry leisurely smoke while the dog went potty. The absolute amazement when they walked out into the living room was definitely a sight to see.
Maybe instead you would like to know that after we got done setting the "Santa" gifts out under the tree on Christmas Eve, I sat there and cried like a baby, completely at a loss for words. Or that even later that afternoon when April called me, I was still in a daze and could not form a coherent sentence to save my life. The things sent were nothing short of a miracle; there were toys (to the person who sent the Nerf dart guns: you will be pleased to know that the boys have delighted in shooting darts at this snowman we have hanging on the wall, laughing hysterically every time they hit it because then it appears as if he has a tiny orange penis. Perhaps I should be more strict about stuff like that, but since I thought it was funny as well, hard to do. We are a simple family, easily amused), there were games (dude. Man Bites Dog is THE funniest game in the world, hands down. As is Scattergories, because I read so much and am so nerdy that I kick.ass. at. it.), there was jewelry...the list goes on.
So a special, huge, heartfelt thanks goes out to Mr. Lady AND to April for ensuring that we had such a wonderful Christmas. I believe it was Mr. Lady's idea, and she harnessed her powers for good to convince people I don't even know to send us things. April was, I think, sort of the liaison as well, since she knows me so well. I am not sure how many of you want to remain anonymous, so perhaps I won't mention any other names, but thank you all, so much. Also, there are many who I couldn't name if I tried, as there were no names provided. So thank you for the lovely earrings, and the gift cards, and the necklace for Hannah with the beautiful star on it. Thank you for the tent, and the BOOKS (how did you know that Calvin and Hobbes AND Ripley's Believe It Or Not would be huge hits at my house?), and the yummy foot scrub stuff that makes my feet look so pretty. Thank you for the marshmallow shooters and the Nerf football and the Frisbee, for the aforementioned Nerf dart guns and the Iron Man Robot. The trucks and cars for Owen, the really neat puzzles for him, the t-shirts for Eli and the Tommy Hilfiger boxer shorts ( he told me to specifically mention those, because he said he feels like a real man when he wears them), the journal and the cross-stitch kit for Hannah. Thank you SO much for the gift cards and, yes, the money, because for the first time in a long time we have a full fridge. April and someone else helped pay for Sam's spiffy new glasses (which are SO cute, and thank you Jebus he can SEE!), someone else some new clothes for Hanna, and in fact all the kids got new clothes AND shoes. Sam got the coveted Easy Bake Oven, and all of it-ALL of it-was paid for by all of you.
I know I have missed a lot of you, left a lot of you out, and please forgive me. Please forgive me for being, still, so stunned and grateful at the generosity of strangers, the willingness of people to organize this whole event and make sure we were taken car of. And yes, taken care of in the material sense, but also on a much more fundamental level than that. The simple act of gifts sent nurtured my spirit, that part of me which has seen a lot of the really unsavory aspects o human nature over the last year. Thank you all for reminding me that for every really, really crappy, lowlife human being out there, there are ten to make up for it. Thank you for making my family and I feel so loved and yes, special, cherished, pampered. I truly don't have any more words now than when I started, so please, accept this as the genuine thank you it is.