I learned this year how much Christmas really means to me. This year I was the one coming home to my family. To make it back for the best two days (Christmas Eve and Christmas). I've said before, I come from a big family. One of three and extended families on both side, huge and awesome. This Christmas I realized how unique my family is and how blessed I am.
The week leading up to my departure was filled with quite a bit in such a short time. I encountered real life, "Mean Girls," and got to do my first circle! By myself! I walked in a little intimidated.... 7th grade girls ughh. By the end, I decided I won em over, no questions about it. It reminded me about what 7th grade was like... geeze, good luck. I feel like those are the years you just keep going..... kids are mean. The following two days were filled with wrapping AXE cologne kits, and hoodies and decorating the center. Oh and bagging up 250ish bags of candy. The cologne and hoodies were for Wednesday night circle/our centers Christmas for the boys. I'm pretty sure I went home both Tuesday and Wednesday smelling like cologne haha
Our center and Kolby House put together bags for kids in Juvi each Christmas. That way the kids in Juvi get something over the holidays, otherwise they would get nothing. Early in the week Sr. Donna and I had to go drop of bags to get them approved by Juvi, for letting us hand out bags. The candy bag was approved. However, a bag with: toothpaste, a tooth brush, short socks, and some kind of soap was not approved. Apparently tooth brushes can be chiseled down into a spear of some kind, creating a weapon to stab people and socks can be turned into a device to hang yourself.... reallllly? So, candy it is this year I guess? Dumb.
Tuesday night I went into Juvi to kick it. Usually the courts try to get as many kids home before Christmas as possible. So, numbers were down. Well.... I guess you could say that. That night I met a kid that I can pinpoint what, but he had some kind of mental disability/just.... wasn't all there. Played some Uno with him and tried to talk but, wasn't to successful. At the end of the night, on the way home I couldn't help but think about him. Why was he there? Whatever crime he committed I am betting he was taken advantage of, clearly without him knowing. He was doing someones dirty work, and I am betting he couldn't tell right from wrong? I can't assume to much... I guess just a possibility? (hardly)
At one point in the week one of the doors in our center got locked and we didn't have a key for that door. Of course behind that door were all of the Christmas presents. When I confronted the problem, it was kind for shrugged and I was told to go get one of the boys to help get it, "unlocked." By unlocked..... ehhh basically pick the lock. And after picking away, and kicked it in a bit, the door was opened. I've seen it done a few times now, I may just inherit this new trait haha I mean, it may come in handy some day. So.... as the worry of Christmas being locked behind a door was apparent, it quickly disappeared by breaking into the room! Hey if you got the skill, might as well use it for a good cause!
Finally, Wednesday came. After running around getting a sweet massage (a present for Christmas), and then getting some legit tamales for lunch and good conversation with some girls, finally one last thing to do, Christmas for the boys. We had dinner catered by an awesome Kolby House volunteer! Brisket yummmm. Off to circles, where the theme was, "What does Christmas mean to you?" As a rule, what's said in circle, stays in circle. But, the biggest theme was, "togetherness and family." All week between conversations with some girls, kids in Juvi, and conversation in Circle.... the theme of togetherness and family were beaming everywhere I looked. Some kids down on the South side never had a tree for Christmas, or the star at the top was considered a gang symbol rather than a guide for Mary and Joseph and the 3 wise men. Presents were nothing but a "real meal." Hopes of seeing family were the true present. Last post I talked about how I felt as if I lived in two different worlds sometimes. How I have my family life, a simple, safe, blessed life vs. the streets of the Ghetto, a life of violence. Two, obviously very different environments right? Well, maybe where I thought these two environments are very much crazy different.... guess what? They are pretty similar as well. If you talked with anyone in my family they would tell you that presents aren't really that big of the deal. Its about being together with everyone, talking, eating tamales and burritos, or ham and potatoes and simply being with each other is all that really matters. Very similar "themes," that were shared in circle with the boys. So, as I struggled with these two different worlds... things like this make it easier an easier to see my world as one, or helps me see that they aren't so much different. Amen to that!
So, as presents were handed out that night, I packed and literally had to sit on my suitcase to zip it up for my flight home and I have lived through the Christmas eve/Christmas madness and got to meet my new nephew/Godson, I have nothing but a smile on my face. I couldn't be more thankful this Christmas season :) Cheers to the Christmas season!