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I think I killed our tree.  Last year was not my fault (the apartment was too hot) but this year I did it.  I don’t know what’s wrong;  I went to put the lights on it, and it sounds like it’s raining.  Needles everywhere.

It is the week before Christmas, and there is no money for gifts.  It’s the most horrible, nauseating, dead-in-the-very-bottom-of-your-gut type of feeling a single mom can have.  Most of the time, I feel sick.  No matter where I am, or what I am doing, I can’t fully enjoy it.  We are in pretty much the same boat we were in last year, and I haven’t yet recovered from last year.  Same scenario, different location.

Constant worry.   

So many bills are unpaid;  there are piles of medical bills, utilities, my daughter’s tuition for spring.  Everything is past due, so late fees keep piling up.  The car needs repairs, or it won’t pass inspection next week.  If I buy gifts for my daughters, or for anyone else for Christmas, even a few, there will be no way to pay the rent next month.  I’m preparing myself now for the annual January shut-off:  no internet, television, or phone.  It seems to be a new and unwanted tradition – dead silence.  Not good for those already struggling with depression.  I know my girls have bought gifts for me already;  we went to the mall yesterday.  Walking along behind them, I thought, they are so beautiful.  I don’t know if they realize that they themselves are my gifts.  Probably not, because they aren’t parents themselves yet (thank God) but like most parents, I want to be able to give them something to open on Christmas morning.  There is a little girl in all of us, no matter how old we are, who wants to come down to a sparkling tree with beautiful packages, and bows, and pretty things picked out by people we love.  People who love us.

I don’t feel merry, I feel grim.  The kind of grim determination you need when you have to head out into a storm, and there’s no getting around it, so you set your face like flint and go forward.  But it is definitely not fun.

We don’t need a small miracle, we need a large one.  Maybe several.  I have mustard-seed-sized faith.  You can see it with a magnifying glass, but it’s there.

If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, … nothing shall be impossible unto you. – Matthew 17:20