Paying It Forward: We Did It Again!
Many years ago, the home of our former housekeeper burned to the ground a few days before
Christmas. This sweet woman had known me since I was a young child and had gone on to
work as the cleaning person at the school where my mom served as principal. We knew her
before she was married and had three children. She found our lost toys and made us afterschool
snacks. She put bandaids on our boo-boos. She taught us Spanish, and we taught her
English. Years later, when she had children, we watched them grow up. We considered her
family (more so than some of our actual family).
So that Christmas, instead of having our morning of present opening and traditional holiday
meal, my family took our meal to her and her family who were living in an almost-empty
apartment that my mom had somehow found for them. We bought and wrapped gifts for her
children because all of their gifts had burned in the fire. We brought them clothes and
household items that we had collected from family and friends.
It was our finest Christmas ever, and it probably taught me more about the Christmas spirit
than any story, song, or church service ever had.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the Christmas gift-giving and the meal planning and the travel
plans and the holiday parties and the shopping…and the list goes on…and forget that there are
people around us who struggle mightily during the holidays for myriad reasons. And while I
don’t think this means we forego the gifts and food and travel and parties and shopping (or
need to feel guilty about getting to experience them), I do think we can make room for others in
all of the fun and chaos that the holidays bring.
I’m very proud to report that our TWC team did just that this year by adopting two families
through the Hill Country Community Needs Council. Many on the team collaborated to fill two
extra-large laundry baskets with cleaning supplies, food staples, toiletries, paper products, and
more. For the children in the families, we provided skateboards, a soccer ball, a basketball,
books, toy airplanes, a Bluetooth speaker, and makeup. We also gave each family gift cards to
HEB and Walmart.
While we won’t be there to watch the families and children receive and open their gifts, it’s
enough to know that they are not going without this year and that buying gifts won’t be an
extra struggle for them. Honestly, I think all of us would have loved to have been able to buy
even more for them…especially for the children.
I’m glad and honored that I get to work with people who count their blessings and embrace
opportunities to share their blessings with others. What a perfect way to get into the holiday