Thank You Walmart for Keeping Your Stores Open on Thanksgiving

Monday, November 16, 2015

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As we approach Thanksgiving, I see more indignant posts and memes condemning stores opening on Thanksgiving.  At least a smidgen of bile gets thrown at Walmart because they keep their stores open.  I get it. I truly do. I am married to a spouse who works for a retail pharmacy, and he works many holidays.

I am creative about accommodating his work schedule to celebrate holidays and special occasions.  On birthdays, we throw the party as soon as we wake up before Papa heads to work for a long shift.  Cake for breakfast is a kid's fantasy, and our kids adore this tradition.  The Christmas season lasts throughout the month of December and can be celebrated on two different days, so it's easier to work around their father's work schedule.

Thanksgiving has been more challenging than the other holidays.  It sucks when he works on Thanksgiving.  Traveling far to my family is too difficult, and my in laws don't celebrate it.  It's lonely to have no extended family or friends to sit around a full table of home cooked food enjoying each other's company.  Nobody to laugh with about your pants fitting too tight.  Nobody to debate over whether pumpkin, apple, or pecan pie is the best.  Nobody to exchange that knowing eye roll when the football game is turned on.  No warm hugs from loved ones you have not seen in awhile.  No talk about future plans for the Christmas holiday.  And even family feuds are missed on those quiet Thanksgivings spent alone.

One particular Thanksgiving, I decided to create a new tradition to turn around this feeling of sadness.  This would be the day we would decorate the Christmas tree.  Problem was that we owned no Christmas tree. Determined to bring some joy to the day I packed my toddler into the car, and I drove to the one store I knew would be open.

We went to Walmart.  Cue the groans of disapproval.  Yeah, I know I am a Target girl myself, but Walmart was the only store open.  This was long before the days of Black Friday encroaching on Thanksgiving, and the store was almost deserted.

Talk about a chance to feel sorry for myself, but I had my little girl with me and we were going to find a Christmas tree.  We looked through the trees and being practical I knew a small, modest one would be easier to assemble by myself.  As we checked out,  the cashier and I chatted happy to exchange smiles on this day where we probably weren't where we wanted to be, but we were making the best of it.

At home, I turned on the Christmas music, pulled out the box of ornaments, and assembled the tree. My toddler enchanted by it all.  I selected unbreakable ornaments to decorate the tree.  She rearranged those ornaments, so they were all properly lined up hanging on the bottom branches of the tree.  The Christmas tree lights twinkled all day long.  As she played with the tree, I decorated the rest of the home.  Our lonely Thanksgiving turned into a day of magic and beauty by that two foot, artificial tree.

Almost a decade later, we still decorate that little tree on Thanksgiving Day if we are celebrating at home. Now, I have four children instead of only my one little girl. The kids still like to rearrange the ornaments throughout the season, but they have learned to space them more evenly throughout the tree. The chances of the tree getting knocked down reduces each year.  They have stopped playing with the light cords, but there are arguments about who gets to plug in the lights each evening.  Now, I can put presents under the tree because they won't rip open the packages before Christmas Day.

And each year I suggest we buy a different tree, a real tree or maybe a bigger one.  So far, they insist on keeping our humble tree.  That same Christmas tree I chose on a day where I felt lonely.  On Thanksgiving Day, Walmart was the only store open where I could buy a tree.  That little tree gave us a reason to celebrate. So, I say, Thank you, Walmart. Thank you to the workers that kept that store open perhaps sacrificing family time, perhaps wanting to earn extra money, or perhaps having nowhere else to go but work that day.  Thank you for our modest Christmas tree that brought joy to us on Thanksgiving and the years beyond.

I am a Mom of That Kid

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

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mom of that kid

I am a Mom to That Kid.  The kid whose behavior can be so extreme that I completely understand that other parents would not want their children around my child.   While having a child with these special needs can feel isolating, I want to thank those who have made my family feel welcomed.  Our child who some might label as a negative influence.

Thank you to one of my mama friends who kept coming over to play with us even after my child whacked her smaller child across the face with a stick.

In thanks, to my neighbors who refused compensation when my child permanently broke a door off their Little Tykes playground, and a few weeks later this neighbor donated the playground to our family.

I am grateful to the mom of two small children who didn't run away from the playground when my child started screaming bad words.  I apologized to her for my child's behavior.  She complimented my handling of it and invited me to join a play group.

In gratitude to my church community for always including this child in all programs.  Thank you to my former minister who came to our pew during communion to personally deliver the sacraments. I was unable to go to the alter because I was in the midst of handling my child's temper tantrum in the middle of church service.

Appreciative of my child's yoga teacher who created a smaller class size because my child didn't cope well in a larger class. This smaller class has allowed my child to succeed in a group setting while still getting the benefits of yoga.

Thankful for the non judgmental mother at the splash pad who came over to offer assistance during one of my child's extreme meltdowns that included throwing large stones.  Just her presence reduced my stress which had an immediate calming effect on my child.

My heart pours out in joy and gratitude to those who have continued loving and supporting us because they know that my child is not defined by the hard moments.   My child is worth getting to know. While it can be hard sometimes, my child is full of play and laughter to share with other children.  My child needs friendship not pity.

By including my child, you are giving my child a gift.  A gift of community.  My belief is that my child continues to grow and learn more when accepted.

Excluding children with negative behavior doesn't allow them to learn pro social behaviors from their typically developing peers and adult role models in the community.  How can you reach out to these children and their families to help them feel included?

Growing up to Love Nature

Saturday, October 19, 2013

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love nature

I hope my children are developing a love of the natural world.

Picture Perfect Instagram Family

Saturday, October 5, 2013

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If you view my life through The Golden Gleam's Instagram feed, it looks like we are playfully energetic and creative family who loves spending time together.  It's an accurate portrayal of our family - most of the time.

But there are the phases and moments in our life that are not picture perfect.

These times don't end up on Instagram.

Pictures such as my daughters' picking flowers in a field of clover are featured.


Ordinary Rituals with Children

Sunday, September 29, 2013

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protect our children

Every single trip to the grocery store, the twins are eager to see the monster.

They wave and say hello to the monster.

Mud Pie Kitchen

Friday, September 27, 2013

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messy play

Usually, I don't do a lot to facilitate my kids' outdoor play.  My kids use the materials in our yard to create their own play.

Recently, they have been busy with what they call their kitchen or science experiments.  It's their self made mud pie kitchen.

Love Isn't a Competition Between Mothers

Sunday, September 22, 2013

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mother wars

"Why does she even have kids if they are going to be in daycare all day?"


"I love spending time with my children, and that's why I homeschool.  They are only young once."

Comments similar to these are not uncommon if you ever frequent internet sites populated mostly by stay at home mothers or homeschoolers.