By: Jacqueline Koutsoufis
Here we are awaiting Christmas and the start to a new year. As I reflect back I realize that I have found myself more relaxed and at peace with my life than I have been in the years past. And I can say it’s a great feeling. I know I will still have moments of anger or disappointment, but I remind myself that things will get better and it’s only temporary.
You see a couple of years ago we started a new family rule. The kids weren’t allowed to ask Santa for more than five items and nothing really expensive. I’m sure you can imagine that initial reactions…”Why?! Santa doesn’t buy his toys?!” True, but he needs to buy the pieces to make them and if yours costs a lot to get all the pieces then someone else gets less.”
This first year was rough on them, but they followed this new rule. As this new rule went into place I took on another project that my children helped partake in. We took on 13 families, a total of 32 children, and helped match them to a sponsor. The sponsors would help them for Christmas and we collected donations of new and used clothes to hand them out for these children and families. They enjoyed helping drop off the gifts and seeing the look of relief in the faces of the moms. They where shocked to see some of the moms break down and cry because they where lost and worried that their children would have nothing to open.
The rule of only five items continued and without a fight. This year my children have asked to sponsor children instead of asking for big gifts. So this year instead of all the “gimme me’s”.. We have the “can we please help?” It warms my heart that my children are concerned for other children. They enjoyed going into the store and picking out the toys and gifts for the three children we will be sponsoring. It’s a great feeling to be helping others, so many are quick to judge others. It’s not easy for some parents to ask for help. I started this little project to help some parents out of a tough spot. I don’t judge!! I have been in that situation before- it’s not fun, it’s scary and lonely.
After my son was born still born, I shut down and was suffering from PTSD, horrible anxiety, and depression. I could barely function and my husband had to take time out of work to help look out for me and the children. No amount of medication could fix what I was going through. We were once that family that needed help. Wages were lost in order to care for our family that was grieving the loss of a precious life way to soon. I am so grateful for the help we received and that we where able to heal and rise above. Things could have gone so much worse for us.
I don’t judge anyone who may be asking for help. I don’t know their story and I don’t know their past. Instead I find peace in knowing that where I once was I am no more. Instead I can offer help and my children are growing up not not only think of themselves, but others less fortunate.
How have you found peace?!