If we were having Christmas coffee

If we were having a pre-holiday coffee by the fire, first I’d applaud us because—who has time to have Christmas coffee?! In the mad rush of cookies, cards, presents, parties, I’d be happy we were taking a few quiet moments for ourselves.

With our Santa hats on, feet by the fire, I’d first share my bah humbug news to get it out of the way. My eldest was let go from his job, two weeks before Christmas—FOR BEING A GOOD SAMARITAN. Honestly.

He was working just before close at the auto dealership where he cashed customers out and did light paperwork. A woman my age came in hoping for someone to help get her car started. The service department was closed, the dealership was close to closing and it was dark. She told him she was more than an hour from home with a dead car. He told her he’d take a look under the hood—that while he couldn’t repair the car, maybe it was something simple. It was. Her battery nodes had corrosion on them. He eliminated it—and she was off on her merry way home. I am sure he was thinking of what he would want someone to do for his mom if I were in the same situation.

But, the dealership service manager told him he opened them up to severe insurance liability by touching her car at all (because he is not a certified mechanic). They said they had to let him go. Ugh. He had always gotten good feedback and they seemed to appreciate him. In the end, he was doing what I raised him to do—being helpful where he can be. And I am so proud he did not leave a woman alone, stranded in a dark parking lot on a cold winter night. It makes me sad that we are in such a litigious culture. When being a Good Samaritan gets you fired, where has the world gotten to? Really.

But then I’d take a sip of my Christmas coffee (my code name for coffee with Bailey’s Irish Cream in it) and shake off the bah humbug. I’d tell you my youngest just earned his first-degree black belt in taekwondo after several years of training. He tested and passed next to a 55-year-old man—at only 13! This is quite an accomplishment. Younger children can earn one, but it’s a far easier test. He had to take the same test as the adults did. And the best part? In his speech about what getting this belt meant to him, he said, “Thanks Mom and Dad.” He talked about how we made him persevere even when he wanted to give up—and that he was the better for it. Made my heart sing.

As we bit into the peanut butter brownie cookies we swore we wouldn’t have, I’d tell you that this year, I’ve tried to allow more room for joy in the holidays. The past several years have been so busy and rushed that by the time we got to cookie-making, I realized I was snapping at my sons. Not this year. I passed on sending out Christmas cards and instead have been taking time to relax. As a result, it’s feeling like Christmas! As I write this blog, the most lovely Christmas smell is wafting up the stairs. My eldest and his girlfriend are baking cookies. He came over and expressly asked for one of my old recipes. I love watching the traditions start to take hold.

I’d tell you that with this newfound time to relax, I’m ignoring the cluttered kitchen island and closets. Instead, I’m watching one of my favorite old movies, “The Philadelphia Story.” Nothing beats Grant and Hepburn. I’m going to christkindlmarkets and walking the city streets strung with festive lights. Having dinner with friends. Catching up with so many wonderful people at holiday parties. Making merry.

In terms of life in general, I’m taking it day by day. I’ve thrown away my parents’ approach–I’ve stopped having a plan A, B, C and D. I’ve stopped worrying into the future. I’ve sworn off trying to anticipate what is coming next so I can nail down everything. I’ve realized the Universe keeps trying to show me I am really not in charge. So, I am happily taking a backseat and hoping the driver is an expert. I’ve realized that as a divorced working mom, time to relax and connect with people is more essential than I realized. My accountant used to joke with me, “You are a machine!”. While he meant it as a compliment, it spoke volumes about my choices. The hours I worked then were necessary to make ends meet. And maybe they still will be. But I’m trying to remember to be around people who value me for more than my latest speech or bylined article. To not feel guilty about taking time for a good book or a night out with friends. To remember Oscar Wilde’s words: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.”

And finally, as we took our last sips, I’d ask you if you have your word for 2018. Each year, I choose a word that I hold close throughout the year. It’s better than a resolution; it’s more like a north star. I’ve not yet settled on 2018’s word but I have a few in mind as possibilities. This year’s word was “allow.” I think it was the perfect word to keep top of mind during another year of change (at least it was for a gal who used to run from change). I “allowed” quite well this year. Virtual pats on the back accepted.

Does it feel like Christmas for you this year? Is that because you’re doing something to help that feeling arise? And what might your word for 2018 be?

We can sit by the virtual fire awhile longer. Because I’d love to hear more about what is on your mind this holiday season—good or bad, happy or not. Let’s keep it real while we sip.


43 Comments Add yours

  1. So sorry that your son’s compassion cost him a job. Their loss — and you should both be proud of his values.

    We’ve had a good Christmas — sent cards, got a nice tree and some new ornaments, had a quiet dinner at home.

    My word for 2018 is strategize. Things have to change and I have to get a lot sharper if I’m ever going to increase my income to a degree we’re not drowning in rising costs.

    1. candidkay says:

      I hear you on strategizing! Wishing you a prosperous 2018.

      1. Thanks. We need one!

  2. Merry Christmas, Kay! I love the word allow.
    Congratulate your son! And I pray your Good Samaritan can find work in a place that values people as he does. Wishing you the brightest holiday filled with joy, family, warmth, peace and love.

    1. candidkay says:

      Merry Christmas! Thank you for the kind wishes for my boys and the holiday. I am wishing you one filled with joy and peace!🎄🎄

  3. Allow…. what a daring word! I think it would take a lot of guts to have a word like that. I’m proud of you for being so brave with a word like that. My word this year was persevere and I feel I have done pretty well with that. Persevere— moving forward in spite of obstacles or difficulties. I have had some difficulties this year, some quite minor, but I can become riled up quite quickly. This year I have learned to slow down, breathe a little more and re-adjust to get through the obstacle laid down in front of me. It’s been a good growth year, I think. I’m far from getting it all correct but I’m learning to persevere through those obstacles.

    On another note —- bummer about your son! Integrity wise and humanity wise, he made the right decision! Good for him… and good for you, Mama, for teaching him well!

    Merry Christmas, friend! 🙂

    1. candidkay says:

      It’s so heartening to hear about the words people choose–and to hear how earnestly they try to live up to those words during the year. I love that you’ve persevered. Imagine a whole world of us persevering–the accomplishments we could get to for the world at large. You’ll have to let me know if you pick another word for 2018–mine remains to be determined!

  4. Cindy Frank says:

    What a perfect and perfectly lovely post! Virtual hug to you and both of your very good and very accomplished boys. It’s clear you will find joy in the New Year!

    1. candidkay says:

      Wishing you the same, Cindy! A wonderful 2018:).

  5. nights7 says:

    So I was going to comment here last night and didn’t. But then, this evening, my daughter was telling me about a YouTuber (yes, that’s a word now) she follows. She mentioned that the YouTuber chooses a word for the year. I said “Oh I follow a blogger who has written about that; that’s funny.”
    My daughter asked who and I showed her your blog. Turns out the aforementioned You Tube person also reads your blog and has mentioned it/you. Apparently the virtual world we interact in here is also somewhat small.
    So in that vein, *raises (possibly spiked) coffee* cheers to taking the time to forge meaningful connections wherever they may be and to remembering to soak up the joy of this holiday season.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, love that kismet! You’ll have to share the YouTuber’s info. Raises (definitely spiked) coffee—cheers to connections and a wonderful new year full of them for all of us:).

  6. I love your post. And I’m proud of both your sons. Your younger for his achievement and your older for his achievement. He made the right choice. I keep saying – you have done such a good job with these two young men. You have.
    Over here, I have had good reason to be proud of my two daughters and sons-in-law too. I am so thankful for them. And I am resisting the pressures and anxiety that can come with Christmas; I think the secret is that I’m trying to honour Advent more and more each year. Merry Christmas to you and your family, dear K.

    1. candidkay says:

      I am sure your family reflects your teaching by example! Hold on to the peace this holiday. I know I’ll do the same:). Merry Christmas, Cynthia!

  7. I’m sitting reading this post listening to old fashioned Christmas carols and songs, with the room lit by Christmas lights and starting to get into the spirit. Your holiday sounds like the holidays were meant to be – restorative and full of love and tradition.

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I’m so glad you’re making the magic happen. Or rather, allowing it to seep in:). I realized holidays should not be so ambitious. A light snow, my boys and my furry girl is about all I really need. Wishing you your version of that this year, Andrea!

      1. And you too Kristine 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing your tender heart with us Kay. I’m glad you’re finding ways to slow and savor the season. Good for you and your son for the way you’ve responded to the dealer’s actions. I’ve gotten the nudge from several people to pick a word for 2018 so I guess I have some homework.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    1. candidkay says:

      Yes! Word just seems to inspire and sort of color your actions and thoughts. Whereas a resolution, to me, feels like medicine. Wishing you a wonderful holiday and a blessed 2018!

      1. Agreed Kay. Thanks for the encouragement!

  9. Your son is a good boy. If you’re going to get fired, this has to be the best way. I’m sure his kindness and integrity will be rewarded in one way or another (even if it’s just a special post wriiten by his mom about him that many people will be inspired by). Merry Christmas, Kay!

    1. candidkay says:

      I am actually proud of him! I’d be disappointed if he’d left a woman alone in a dealer parking lot. Thanks for stopping by my virtual chat–and for the words of support;). Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  10. Making time for yourself to enjoy life day by day proves you’ve ascended to another level of wisdom. Your older son has as well, though getting through via tough, unfair lessons is a rough road. Still, being the kind of person to want to help is something that will give him rewards later. And your valuable perspectives and moments of genuine appreciation are paying off for all. Best of the holiday season to you and yours.

    1. candidkay says:

      Thanks, Kathy, for the kind words. I’m actually proud of him–which might sound odd, because he was fired:). But, I think the world needs more Good Samaritans–especially now! I’m hoping you’re finding the time for peace and quiet over the holidays also–wishing you the best in 2018.

  11. suemclaren24 says:

    Clearly the dealership has never heard of second chances. There was no harm done, a warning would have been sufficient with the reason(s) for it, and most likely the spin-off will be all positive. It’s a learning curve, and one for which the dealership might take some responsibility. Kudos to your son for helping when there was no one else willing to step up. Congratulations to the caring parents who have raised a kind young man.

    1. candidkay says:

      I thought the same. Particularly since he is just 17 and this was only his second job-and the fact that he’s gotten such good reviews at both of his jobs. I feel they were short sighted. Thank you for the kind words. I do my best to raise them right!

  12. fritzdenis says:

    It’s odd that the dealership didn’t just give your son a warning…If they’re that snippy, they probably would’ve found another random reason at some point to fire him. Hope he finds a better job with better management soon. I like your shift in priorities and your practice of choosing a word for a new year. My word is gratitude.

    1. candidkay says:

      I thought the same thing! Warning would’ve been far more appropriate. But I’m thinking that they are thinking if they keep him, they may void insurance. Again, a sad state of affairs when her culture promotes that versus helping one another. I love your word for 2018! I think it’s one of the most transformative words we can choose.

  13. markbialczak says:

    I’m glad to hear your spirit is full with the season this year, Kay.
    Bah to the boss who followed the letter of the law instead of bowling to the honor of the situation that your son chose to help the woman in need of his small but immeasurable favor.
    Happy holidays to you and your generous family.

    1. candidkay says:

      Bah is right! But we’re not going to let it ruin your holiday. I am sure he will find another position. He is a good worker bee :-). Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family! I hope you will get some downtime for the holidays.

      1. markbialczak says:

        Yes, I’ve saved a few days to grab a pair of four-day weekends to end the year at holiday time, Kay, so it will be a nice time at home with my dear wife Karen, Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle and various visits from the kids. Thank you.
        And I’m glad your good worker bee will soon be buzzing around a new spot and helping another set of people!

  14. bone&silver says:

    That dealership’s action sucks! But your son must take comfort in knowing that he did the right thing, especially for a woman alone. He will get a better job, AND he will keep being a good man: goodness knows this world needs more of them right now.

    I can almost smell the cookies baking, & I’m delighted to hear you’ve stopped rushing, and are doing more ‘being’, especially with your children & loved ones. That’s better than any Xmas card or present surely?

    Congrats on a great word choice for 2017; mine was 3: ‘Held & Cherished’, & I’ve certainly done that/received that. I look forward to seeing what 2018 requests… blessings & peace from the heat of Australia, G

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree on the dealerships action. Absolutely. And I am proud of him for doing the right thing without thinking twice about it. That’s really what I’ve tried to raise him to do. I love your 2017 words. I hope you felt them this year. Have you come up with a 2018 word yet? Sending those blessings right back at you tenfold :-).

  15. Oh that’s so unfair about your son’s dismissal, and yes it’s such s fear based world we live in now; everyone’s scared to talk or do something in case we get sued!! But I always believe there’s a reason down the track, that will make sense for you both. You have beautiful boys Kristine, you should be proud. Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks for being “real” authentic and honest! The world needs more people like you.Okay, my word for 2018 is “Expand” I’m going to see myself and my life in spacious energy that is limitless in every direction! That sounds big ha!! Love to you and your family 🎄🌈🎄🌈💕

    1. candidkay says:

      Oh, I think expand suits you so nicely! Because you’re already so much light and energy-I can’t wait to see what happens when you recognize how truly limitless it is :-).

      1. Thank you 💕💚

  16. Many years ago I had the loss of a job just before Christmas and it is a big hit, especially after what your son had done for that lady. It makes you question yourself and can make you a little bitter because of its circumstances.
    But…not long after I got another job, one where I really was appreciated and felt I belonged. So in hindsight it was a very nice Christmas present. A vacuum was created for a final ‘allow’ to let in something much better. And sometimes we even need to take a step back, go sideways, to then come forward and begin something with a lot more love and respect of ourselves because of what it has created in doing so.
    May his future ‘gift’ see what it has allowed 😀
    Would you like a coffee ‘top up’ there mom or are you slowly sinking into your seat as the virtual heat of ‘allowing’ is bringing a much nicer Christmas to you all 😀
    Merry Christmas Kristine (and family), may your new word find many blessing also in the New Year ❤

    1. candidkay says:

      Ah, Mark, I thought the same thing regarding the job! While I know he was disappointed and quite shocked, I cannot help but feel that this will hopefully lead him to the next good thing for him and the next adventure. Merry Christmas to you also! Wishing you a warm, wonderful holiday and a host of blessings in 2018!

      1. Thank you kind lady, blessings gratefully received, thank you ❤

      2. Spirit just gave me a nudge Kristine…maybe your son should have said to his boss…’then the day that your daughter or wife is in the same situation, stuck late in the middle of nowhere, getting dark with no way to get home with a broken down car, that everyone around her does what you just asked of me’…and see how he reacts 😀

      3. candidkay says:

        That’s a good thought! And sooo tempting. However, I’m actually glad he didn’t say anything. Another positive about this experience–he is showing me he has heard me over the years. He knows he says things he will regret when he is angry–and kept quiet. Takes a big man to do that:).

      4. Very true, but sometimes the truth will shine a light. I think it is one of those things that must be done with the integrity that is within us or as you said, will come across as anger and will only put the other person on the defensive instead of seeing the truth within it 😀
        Your son did very well under the circumstances, you can be very proud of his actions…his mothers son after all ❤

  17. Ahhh. Love your take on the holidays and your shares about your sons. Getting fired for being a good Samaritan? Sounds like someone is extremely short sighted. They could have educated your son about liability and let it go. I’ll happily take a cup of tea or hot chocolate and join you by the fire. I’d share with you that my son is growing up, and makes me smile, like when he showed his younger cousin how to fly a drone (because she’s getting one for Christmas). He was so patient and informative.

    I remember when you picked the word Allow at the beginning of the year. To me, that’s the energy of God. Complete, unconditional allowing feels like what we call love. I don’t pick a work for the year, but if I did, 2018 would be the verb, to ground.

    1. candidkay says:

      I agree with you on the short-sighted bit. There’s a woman out there who I’m sure is raving about the nice employee at their dealership–having no idea he was FIRED for being so nice. It’s just ick. But “ground”–now there’s a word that fits you, especially given all of the energy changes you’ve had. And your son–how wonderful and giving of him. I bet seeing him show so much patience is really rewarding too:). Kudos to his great mom.

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