Writing prompt 27

How the Amazing Support of Strangers Pulled Me Back from the Edge When I Was Losing Hope

When all you want is for your children to be happy.

T Mann
4 min readMar 7
Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Christmas was coming fast, too fast for my measly budget. All the familiar traditions my children and I had come to love were hanging by a thin strand of garland as life had rudely upended us over the past year. Last year was our final Christmas season as a family of four.

We always celebrated the Christmas season with every imaginable tradition and custom. From listening to Andy Williams and Mariah Carey to baking too many goodies and hosting parties, watching all the classic movies, and everything in between, we went all in on Christmas.

A young girl in a Christmas store with goggles on her eyes that have red and black plaid reindeer antlers attached.
My child lives for Christmas! Photo by author

My husband and I went our separate ways shortly after that last holiday, and my girls and I had to move on. As a homeschooling family, we lived primarily on one income. In the last few years of our marriage, as our kids were growing up, I had only recently returned to work, and the breakup was financially crushing.

Now my girls and I live in a bungalow with three dogs, two cats, and two rabbits. We had some of the old decorations from before the divorce and went to the dollar store to get new items to decorate our tiny home. I wanted to make everything perfect for them. I wanted Christmas to be filled with all the joy and wonder we had instilled in our girls' love over the years. But I also wanted it to be different, new, and exciting.

Unfortunately, my paltry salary did not allow for extravagance. Each month I was ecstatic when my pay and bills came close to one another. Now was not a time to be shopping and spending money on extras. Making the rent payment was my main priority.

But I didn't let my girls see my struggles. They had been hurt enough, and things weren't good between them and their dad. Life was hard, and I wanted to bring joy to their holiday.

The aging tradition of mailing Christmas cards made us smile as cards trickled in. Many friends and family ensured we knew they…



T Mann

Writer, wife, mom, nana, and🍷 lover sharing life lessons and adventures of Self-improvement /Advice/ Relationships/ and more, one story at a time.