Christmas Day was the only time of the year we had both of our grandmas in our home at the same time. It was always a scene! They didn’t have any use for each other. These were both good Christian women, but the years of sharing us had not worn well on them. They both carried around some jealousy and bitterness over the presumed relationship the other shared with our family. When it came time to go pick them up, my Mom, my brother, my sister and I would suddenly become involved in urgent Christmas business. I feel like scrooge for telling this, but it was the furthest thing from what we would describe as a relaxed and enjoyable Christmas evening.
My favorite Christmas, though, was the year they finally got into it. After opening our gifts and having dinner, the evening was drawing to a close. Both grandmas went to round up their gifts from us and they said almost simultaneously, “Where are all my presents?” Each accusingly asked the other, “You’ve been messing with my stuff?!” I was the first one to walk in on this conflict-taking place. I tried to turn and walk away but I had already been spotted. “Sheri, your other grandma has been into my things and I believe she’s taken them.” I replied, “Well Grandma, I can’t imagine that she would have taken your things…and certainly not on purpose. Let’s go through everything and see if we can figure it out.” I proceeded to sit them down and took my grandma Davis’ presents and told her what each was and who gave it to her. Then I took my grandma Riley’s gifts and repeated this process with her. The problem was, I believed this kind of rational thinking could actually be absorbed by these two. I thought I had reasonably resolved the conflict, but as soon as I stopped talking they went for the jugular. “I know she’s been messing with my stuff!”
My brother walked in and I tagged him, “I’m out!” He went through a similar drama, until my mom came in. Without a word, she took their presents away from both of them. She walked out of the room. A few minutes later, she returned with two trash bags filled with their gifts, clearly and permanently marked with each of their names. She said, “Now, we’ve got that all settled. Go get your coats, and head to the car. Duane will take you home.” And that was it! She had solved it, quickly, quietly and efficiently. That was how my Mom rolled- no matter the course, just got it done now! They sheepishly picked up their respective bags and started walking toward the door. We put a coat on them, kissed their cheeks and said, “Good-bye and Merry Christmas.”
Sometimes it takes the right person to handle a family problem. What my little Mama did seemed harsh to me at the time but after years of sharing Christmas, grandmas, and grandchildren it makes much more sense to me. Tough love at any age is sometimes necessary for everyone’s good. So if you are dealing with tense moments with family this Christmas, here’s a tip…. have your hefty trash bags ready.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! It’s all about Jeus!