These past few weeks I have been locked away in my own world and just trying to figure out this Christmas. I focused on my training for my new job, remote-schooled the boys for the 1001 day. Begrudgingly cleaned and decorated for Christmas. All the while storming about and dreading my first Christmas without my beloved Dad.
Last night, I shut away the world after a long day of shopping with Mommy and the tree and the mantle and the house is finally all ready for Christmas Day. Then I snuggled down with Eli ((our 9-year-old)) and he and I watched some Christmas movies together. We started with Jim Carrey’s, The Grinch, then segued into Rudolph. After Rudolph I sent Eli off to dreamland and snuggled down with Will and we watched his favorite Christmas musical, Albert Finney’s, Scrooge then I drifted off watching Tim Allen’s, Santa Clause. What a busy, blessed, Christmassy Saturday.
While watching Rudolph, as I have been doing for as long as I can remember, I started to remember a lot of Christmas’ past and it was beautiful and wonderful. I do not remember the gifts; I remember the love and the peace and the magic of playing in the snow in the moon light.
I got to thinking about how much the world has changed since then and how just about everything is deemed offensive today and I remembered seeing articles about pulling Rudolph from the air since it “promotes bullying”. But there is so much more to Rudolph than bullying. There is Clarice, Rudolph’s doe. When she first met him, she saw past what others considered a “deformity” and saw his spirit. She saw his love, bravery, and strength. She saw his compassion and his grace.
Rudolph did not like being labeled a misfit and ran away from home. Along his travels he met Yukon Cornelius and Herbie the Dentist Elf. These three bonded and became friends. Rudolph, with his red nose, Yukon with his obsession of finding silver and gold, and Herbie the Elf who wanted to be a dentist. Three who had nothing in common except standing out from the crowd. Together they wound up at the Island of Misfit Toys. After that they eventually made their way back and saved the day then Santa flew off and stopped at the Island of Misfit Toys. My favorite line during that scene is from Charlie in the Box who says that a toy is not properly loved until it is loved by a child.
This resonated deep in my soul and I got to thinking about The Island of Misfits we have in our own backyards. Those would be the foster kids, of whom I was one for a brief period. While I was provided for, I was not loved. I was only there for about a month. During my stay, I was not allowed to see my mother, but I could visit Dad and he dutifully picked me up and made sure I was in youth group every Wednesday night and Mom had the Holland’s in her corner fighting together to bring me home. At the foster home, I was repeatedly dropped off at the local pool ((this happened mid-July to about mid-August the summer I was fourteen)). I was left there with a foster sister from about 9 A.M. to about 6 P.M. I was a very fair-skinned teen and wound up with first and second degree burns all over my body and fever blisters above my upper lip. Dad said I was a brighter red than Santa’s suit and instead of youth group, he took me to the hospital and sat by my side anxiously awaiting what the doctors would say and the days that would follow. Because I was in the foster home, there were set rules and because Dad took me to the hospital instead of church, our visits were now prohibited, and I was cut off from everyone except one social worker. Finally, Mommy and I were reunited, and life began to right itself again. Today, I have dry, flaky skin on my forehead that never goes away and is a constant reminder of my time on the Island of Misfits.
I say that foster kids are an island of misfits not to be racist, but to shed light on the unwanted and unloved of the world. I realize they are children and not toys, but I would like to paraphrase my buddy Charlie, “no little girl or boy is properly loved until he or she is loved by a Parent”.
Then, we get to Rudolph himself. He eventually realized his “deformity” was, in fact, a blessing to others because he led Santa’s sleigh that night and rescued the toys and saved Christmas. He took what he was given and used it to change the life of one little girl forever ((as I am sure he has done for millions of other children across the globe)). He showed me that standing apart from the crowd is way cooler than being a part of the “in-crowd”. I have a lifetime of precious memories because of Rudolph and now I get to make new memories with my boys from an old movie full of love, courage, strength, and uniqueness ♥