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A Mother’s Lesson

December 23, 2019

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 Santa Claus. My requests included a horse, a cat, a dog, and a bird in a cage. I thought 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 dollhouse lovingly made by my father. The interior was decorated with bedspreads, pillows on the bed and curtains at each window sewn by Mother. There was also a small family, a rubber horse, a china cat and dog, and a dear little bird in a spun glass cage. I took one look and burst into disappointed sobs. Where was the REAL horse, 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 we would be taking Christmas to a family in the Richmond area — a young, widowed mother with four small children with no insurance. I was told the Santa secret at a very young age and instructed NOT to divulge this information to any of my friends. So, on Christmas Eve we arrived at the family’s small home with stocking fillers and wrapped packages.

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

After all of this, how strange it was that I would at some time in the future be a Mrs. 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 was the time when everybody was unselfish. On that one night, Santa Claus was everywhere, because everybody, all together, stopped being selfish and wanted other people to be happy. And in the morning you saw what they had done.
‘If everybody wanted everybody else to be happy all the time, then would it be Christmas all the time?’ Laura asked, and Ma said, ‘Yes, Laura.’ ”
–Laura Ingalls Wilder


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