December 23, 2019

A Mother’s Lesson

In Cedarfield tradition, the Pastoral Care Team created this compilation of holiday memoirs by team members and residents. We will share one a day through the holidays. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Mary Lou Cumby, Resident

I was four years old the Christmas I went “big” on my wish list to SantaClaus. My requests included a horse, a cat, a dog, and a bird in a cage. Ithought I would get all of them. On Christmas morning when my brother,sister and I came down to the stockings, in the den stood a beautiful dollhouselovingly made by my father. The interior was decorated with bedspreads, pillowson the bed and curtains at each window sewn by Mother. There was also a smallfamily, a rubber horse, a china cat and dog, and a dear little bird in a spun glasscage. I took one look and burst into disappointed sobs. Where was the REALhorse, cat, dog, and bird? I spoiled Christmas for a lot of people that year.

The next year, in the midst of the Depression, my mother announced that wewould be taking Christmas to a family in the Richmond area — a young, widowedmother with four small children with no insurance. I was told the Santa secretat a very young age and instructed NOT to divulge this information to any of myfriends. So, on Christmas Eve we arrived at the family’s small home with stockingfillers and wrapped packages.

It was many years before I connected these two events, but now feel my verywise mother had decided it was time that her youngest child learned somethingabout the real meaning of Christmas.

After all of this, how strange it was that I would at some time in the future be aMrs. Santa Claus; but, that’s another story!

“Then Ma told them something else about Santa Claus. He was everywhere, and besides that,he was all the time. Whenever anyone was unselfish, that was Santa Claus.Christmas Eve wasthe time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, becauseeverybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in themorning you saw what they had done.
‘If everybody wanted everybody else to be happy all the time, then would it be Christmas all thetime?’ Laura asked, and Ma said, ‘Yes, Laura.’ ”
–Laura Ingalls Wilder