Laying my head on my pillow, many nights were spent listening to my amazing storyteller mom share her Christmas memories from her childhood.
There were many times that I wanted to cry for her. She seemed to have a way with words and she could make the worst memory something to laugh about.
Truly my mom had learned to look back at life and remember what truly mattered.
"There were no gifts." She shared. "Our family was just too poor to expect any presents. But we had one thing that was greater than any present. We had love."
Those words, "We had love." were so powerful for me as a child.
I internalized the meaning of love being so great. Hunger and nakedness are issues of extreme poverty. My mom's childhood was filled with that. But she was always wealthy! Mom always said, "But, there was so much love!"
Mom seemed to draw us back to the real memory that made all the difference. "We knew we were loved. And that made up for everything else we didn't have."
Those words helped me get through many times when I didn't get what I wanted as a child. I remembered Christmas for both of my parents as a child. No Christmas tree, no lights, don't even bother putting hay for the camels because they don't visit the poor down here, and no gifts.
But, my mom, always ended each memory, "We had so much love."
And so, this Christmas, and every other, once more I remember all the stories engraved in my mind by the greatest storyteller of all time, mom.
When Love came to stay, it entered and never left.
When love showed up, it declared its power.
When Love appeared, it was so genuine and heartfelt, that nothing and no one could bring something greater but Love Himself. Love (God's Love) came to stay in their midst and what greater gift can any man give or receive than love itself ?
Recollections of days without a proper meal, not being able to purchase fabric for clothing, or having shoes were always made with a smile and always something to laugh about.
Mom's stories lifter me up and allowed me to visit her as a child when she shared. They were that real to me. So many times I felt her sadness. But, the way she shared gave me hope and joy.
"We just had so much love! We didn't realize what we were missing or focus on what we didn't have. Our dad loved us so much in the midst of that great poverty."
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