I’m in a grumpy mood today. I have no real reason to be in a grumpy mood but that’s actually kind of making my mood worse because I haven’t got anything to blame it on. I spent most of the morning staring at the cursor in front of this blog post willing it to write itself, or at least strike me with some inspiration of something to write that would be interesting. You will be shocked to hear that it didn’t work.
For lunch I decided to treat myself and see if that improved my mood a little bit. So I ordered in delivery. Which was very tasty but did not, in fact, improve my mood. It did, however, give me the inspiration I needed to write this post.
Because the degree of privilege I exhibited in just spontaneously ordering in lunch is not one that everyone has. In these dark, uncertain pandemic days it’s probably not even one that most people have. And it’s certainly not one that I’ve always had.
Over the years I’ve told the story of my childhood connection to the food bank over and over. Honestly, I’m kind of tired of sharing it. In part because it’s just as much my mother’s story as it is mine (I’m not sure how happy she’d be about how widely I’ve shared it — pride is a real thing and my mother had a lot of it) and in part just because I’ve just told it a lot. So here’s a new story.
It’s true that my connection to the food bank goes all the way back to my childhood, but it also played a role many years later in my daughter’s childhood.
I was twenty-two years old, the single mother of a toddler, attending Athabasca University and working full time as a waitress. I was trying very, very hard (and failing) to get everything right and to be sure my daughter didn’t feel the lack of a second parent.
Christmas was coming and, more than anything else in the world, my daughter loved Teletubbies.
Teletubbies were not cheap. Nothing Teletubbie-related was cheap.
Ebay was a thing though — a brand new thing, as a matter of fact — and I found some gently used Teletubbie stuffies on it. I could afford to get them for her, but if I did it wasn’t going to leave anything for a Christmas feast.
Growing up the tradition in my family was that we had a Christmas Eve feast with just our immediate family, and then on Christmas Day, after the presents were opened and breakfast was gobbled down, we’d go to my grandmother’s for Christmas dinner with the whole (huge) extended family.
I wanted that for Dani and I as well but there was just no way to do that and allow Santa to give her Teletubbies.
So which to pick? The dinner or the toys?
The food bank meant I didn’t need to choose. They gave us a Christmas hamper that had a big, fresh turkey in it, a bag of potatoes, boxed stuffing, vegetables and other stuff too. It was a very large box filled with food. It provided the dinner for us that I wasn’t able to do alone. And the leftovers lasted for forever.
I will always be grateful to the food bank for what they did for our little family of two that year, and that is just one reason why I donate time, energy and money to the Edmonton Food Bank every year.
And I invite you to join me. You can
to help make some family’s holidays more bright.
Every single dollar raised can provide three meals, so I really do mean it when I say every little bit helps.
If you donate please leave a comment on this blog (or email me if you’re trying to be anonymous) and I will add your name into a draw for a copy of my book, Mrs. Claus: Not the Fairy Tale They Say.
And because this is a blog tour, not simply a blog post, I also invite you to check out the other participants who are blogging about ‘Connections’ today to benefit the food bank.
Laura VanArendonk Baugh — Laura talks about how difficult it is to talk about connections this year, and why that makes it even more important to do it. She’s also giving away a short story as a sort of Giftmas present. I’ve downloaded my copy and look forward to reading it this evening.
JB Riley — JB discusses how connections can be good or bad and then shares a story about a family artifact that helped her feel connected to man who died before she was even born.
Stephanie Weippert — Stephanie’s post is about how connections needn’t be deep or profound in order to matter.