Christmas is coming and Terry and Tim both have their lists to make. Tim, being eight, has a list, not unlike many boys his age. It’s the list of items he is hoping Santa will give him the OK on and drop down his chimney Christmas Eve. Terry, being 32, a single mom and working two part-time jobs, has a different kind of list. It’s a list made up of all the things she has to pay for in December to ensure that she, Tim and Tim’s baby sister Jennifer have a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs and food in their bellies.
Tim’s list has been getting a little longer. After all, he’s made a strong effort to be a good boy this year. He’s made sure his little sister was quiet while mom took a nap between jobs and before the babysitter arrived for the night. He’s helped clean up after dinner and did his homework every night. Just like his mom asked.
Terry’s list has been getting a little longer, too. Her license plate sticker is due for renewal in a few days; the cold weather has beefed up the gas bill a little higher this month, and the prescription she had to get last week has put another dent in an already depleted bank account.
She’s faced with the fact the store she works at in town had cut back on hours at a time when she’d been hoping there would be a little overtime. Terry realizes that there is just no way she can buy Tim even one of the items on his Santa list, let alone all of them. Not if she wants to stay current on her financial obligations to her landlord and the other bills that arrive each month.
She looks up from her notepad budget containing numbers she’s calculated and recalculated a half dozen times in the hopes of finding a few dollars to buy her children something, anything. But the harsh reality is there is nothing left over and, frankly, barely enough to provide the necessities of life. Terry wonders how she’ll explain to her children, who both have been well behaved, that Santa passed them by this year.
She wonders where her Santa is. After all, she’s been a good girl this year herself. She’s worked hard at both her jobs while keeping an eye and ear open for better opportunities to provide for her children. She’s spent every free moment with the children, ensuring that they do their best in school so that they will hopefully never have to struggle to make ends meet as she has.
The Terry, Tim, and Jennifer in this editorial are characters of my imagination, but the harsh reality is Morinville and the surrounding area has many stories like this, particularly in our present economy. They are families of hard-working people who are struggling to make ends meet.
We are grateful to the Midstream Support Society, the Morinville Marvelous Moms Adopt-a-Family, Jandel Homes for supporting the Moms, the Knights of Columbus for their efforts this year and in previous years, and the day-to-day volunteerism of the Morinville Food Bank. We are grateful to Higher Grounds, who once again will open the doors once again on Christmas Day to feed those who are in need of food or simply in need of someone to celebrate Christmas with. And we are grateful to all the generous souls in this community who have given of themselves, even when everyone’s belts are drawn a little tighter.
It makes us proud to call Morinville our home.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THE MORINVILLE NEWS will be closed from Dec. 23 until Jan. 6 for our annual Christmas break shut down. Wishing all of our readers, advertisers, and partner sponsors a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.