The holidays. Oh, how I love them. Yet, sometimes my relationship with them borders on love/hate. While I love the reason for the season; the holiday cheer, visiting family, and all the holiday traditions, the accompanying pressure, stress, and sometimes sorrow is daunting at times. I miss the loved ones who are no longer here, I don’t feel like I can keep up with the pace, I worry that the gifts I have chosen won’t be good enough…..

And on and on and on.

Add to this, a particular concern I have as a parent in which I do not feel that I am up to the task. I feel I can’t possibly handle it. I feel I will certainly fail.

Shattered confidence, days of worry, sleepless nights.

And so it goes….

My worries and cares were delightfully interrupted one night when one of the Founders of Sweet Minerals asked me to attend their annual foray at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore. As usual, there would be makeovers for the mothers, gifts of tons of products for them, and an evening of prep for their annual holiday party. Could I help out, she asked?

Of course, I jumped at the opportunity!

The Ronald McDonald House serves children and their families who are undergoing medical treatments, often for the most serious of concerns. They give them a place to stay and a remarkable level of support. I can only imagine how difficult the circumstaces must be for the children and their loved ones. I don’t think the concept needs much expanding upon. What they are enduring is more challenging and painful than one could ever imagine.

And yet, during the event, there were giggles from the mothers as they were taught how to apply the Flawless Face Complexion System. There were jokes, and smiles, and confidence was seen. There were comments about the goodies they got to take home (the whole set of makeup and brushes)…. “We get ALL of this… thank you!” They were snapping selfies and talking about hair and makeup and lashes. They were just being girls. Just having fun in the midst of the most challenging trial of their lives.

For a moment, time stood still for me.

Just to be able to take a moment to care for oneself is an arduous task when your whole life revolves around saving the life and/or well-being of your child. Just to be able to giggle and smile and be a girl, so to speak, is something that you often don’t have time for. And yet, it is therapeutic.

So, we laughed our laughs and we applied our makeup and we chit-chatted and had fun. At the end of the night, one of the ladies said: “Thank you so much for this (pointing to the makeup). And for all the other things as well”. A tear sprang to my eye. Because I knew what the “other things” were. Camaraderie, kindness, the ability to have fun and escape all the pain, if only for an hour or two.

And then I got it. Yes, I get it. The holiday concerns and parenting pains and consternation that I felt suddenly melted away. These women are strong, they have great faith, and they still have joy. Their incredible endurance inspired me, and helped me to feel connected to that strength. Suddenly, I knew that if they can do it, with all that life has thrown at them, so can I.
So while they thought I was helping them, in reality, they were helping me. They gave me the greatest gift of all this holiday season.

I feel joy. I feel confidence. I feel faith. I feel hope. Like them, I am up to the task. God cares and people care, and with each other’s help, it is going to be alright.

Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He existed in the hearts and minds of Sweet Minerals and all the women that day.

Embrace him.

xxx ooo ~ Carol

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