A Smokey, Dusty Christmas Tale


It was not perfect but the kids saw Magic in our worn-out white Christmas tree!

I heard from the two older happiest little people that Vietnam experienced snowing a few weeks ago. “Mama, the earth is sick already, how can this part of our world experiences snowfall, what’s more in a tropical climate like ours where the sun is BIG and HOT?” The ever-perceptive Pumpkin Mei-Mei asked.

I put down the book I was reading about how to shine in one’s work place and stared out of the window thinking to myself that not just the weather of Vietnam but this Christmas is not quite right in this household too.

I was breathing dust like a vacuum cleaner the whole of last week working at a construction site from dawn to dusk, preparing the site to look reasonably good and acceptable for an event. And in the midst of buying the toilet rolls, fresheners, a water pail, sticking parking direction and signage and setting up all of the sound and light systems and acted as the emcee for the event, I had no time left to buy Christmas gifts or plan for Baby B’s 2nd birthday celebration and my anniversary with Daddy Joe.

Over the weekend, I took out my favourite baking recipe book that my sister got me for last year’s Christmas and thought I would bake some nice Christmas cakes and cookies for the little ones but oh, what a bummer! I forgot that my oven wasn’t working because just over a month ago, Pumpkin Mei-Mei had accidentally burned down my poor old oven! Our little drama started as she was pre-heating the oven when a small spark started tracing up a dangling rubber piece inside the oven which triggered a small fire that quite literally burned down the oven and shattered its tempered glasses all at once. It was absolute pandemonium for the next few minutes! After some panicky screams and dousing off the flames with water, the kids sat down laughing cleaning up the messed up kitchen which also left the entire apartment smelling of smoke as if a Thanksgiving dinner had gone overtly wrong.

We were supposed to fix the oven before Christmas but was told by the manufacturer that our unit was out of its warranty period, plus they no longer produced this model nor kept any of its parts anymore that they would gladly offer a trade-in for a new model at an additional RM1300, which Daddy Joe being the economist of the family was not willing to part with after he worked out the frequency math that his wifeythe working mom” had not touched the oven more than she had typed on the keyboard in a year which meant we would be stuck with a non-functioning oven for a while until Daddy Joe receives his great enlightening.

We wanted to get a real Christmas tree from Ikea just to deliver a magical Christmas atmosphere for the happiest little people but ended up recycling our white fake tree with really old ornaments because the working mama has barely survived a torturous working month that seemed no end to piling work and endless deadlines. Heck, I didn’t even have the time to take the small set to the mall to choose their own ornaments — a family tradition that we have observed since six, seven years ago!

So quite frankly, this is by far the lousiest Christmas I have ever had in the last 15 years of working or so. Even so, even so, I thank God for such things as a loving family that has supported me all the way through, although I have put in more efforts in decorating the work place than my own home or have had to answer to work-related phone calls more than calling home to chat with the kiddos this holiday season.

There is certainly no roasted turkey for entrée this year, no hot butter cookies in sight and the Christmas tree did not come bedecked in the most spectacular ornaments in our family room, but despite a less-than-perfect Christmas backdrop, our home is aglow with the love, joy and peace of the season. I may not be the most organised mommy out there but surely making them tree-shaped pancakes for the morning, followed by worshipping in the house of the Lord and playing Santa on Christmas Eve to make sure that each kid wakes up to his own special gift under the tree will more than make up for the other holiday traditions that are missing this Christmas.

If you are one of the guilty parents like yours truly, well fret not, you are right home with me! Cheer up, here’s a toast to all the little imperfections that make us PARENTS. 😀

Merry Christmas to you all! May the love and peace of our good Lord bring you and your loved ones everlasting joy!

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