Nicole J. Phillips
Shortly after we were married, my father gave Saul and me matching work boots. I remember being perplexed at the time. We didn’t live on a farm and I wasn’t known for my manual labor skills. Sure enough, Dad was right. In 2009, my husband and I donned our matching boots hour after hour as we became part of the Fargo workforce filling and laying sandbags to save our homes and our town. We still have those boots. They come in handy more often than we would have guessed.
Are you sick of winter yet? I know. Stupid question. I’m in Ohio, so we’re seeing promises that spring will indeed arrive, but I remember all too well the 10 winters we lived in Fargo. Even if there are signs of new life, another cold spell comes blasting in and March feels like the dead of winter. People are crabby. Everyone is ready to burn their heavy coats, hats and gloves. And the entire grocery store parking lot is filled with idling vehicles thanks to remote car starters. It’s easy to get caught up in the gray mood when you’re constantly trudging through gray snow.
My kids had a few special baby sitters when they were little, and Desiree Larson was one of them. We’ve moved away and the kids have gotten older, so it’s been awhile since we’ve been in touch. I got a message from Desiree recently and I wasn’t surprised to find that the Larson family is still spreading kindness. She sent me this story about her husband.
Would you rather have 100 casual acquaintances or one special friend? It’s a no-brainer, right? We all long to have someone special in our lives. But that can be tricky when the world only sees your disabilities. Ciera Ball is mostly nonverbal, was diagnosed with autism and has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). That can be a tough combination when forming attachments and making new friends.
My brother and sister-in-law love to snowmobile. I’ve never really gotten the whole winter sports culture, but I’ve heard you can’t mock what you haven’t tried, so I’ll assume there is something awesome about it. They tell me on a good day, the restaurant parking lots in northern Wisconsin are empty of cars but full of snowmobiles. It all just sounds cold to me. Except for the restaurant part. I’m always up for going out to eat.
You know those super awkward moments where everyone is standing in an elevator and no one is talking? They seem to happen anytime we find ourselves in a contained area with a bunch of strangers. I had a moment like that recently when I was flying somewhere by myself. I had parked the car in the cheapest airport lot, which meant I had to take a shuttle back to the terminal. There I was, the lone female with four businessmen.
Want to really enjoy this holiday season? Try giving to others out of delight, not duty. Sure, there are gifts we feel obligated to give. But the magic of Christmas comes when we re-create the spirit of the season for another person just because we feel like it. It’s not hard.