Santa Is Coming
By Amy Chen • December 4, 2014
I am often asked for things, on a daily basis in fact. These are all types of things, from sharing a story to making a donation, to helping pay rent. I am not complaining, I am just stating the facts. I wish I were independently wealthy, I wish I had more free time to help people, but until that day comes I will do what I can, when I can.
Why? You may ask. If I am not wealthy, and have little spare time? The answer is so simple- I do it, because I can. I hope if ever the day comes that it's me asking for the help, someone will help me. I have what I need, my home is comfortable and warm, my fridge may be empty because I hate to grocery shop, but I have the funds to fill it when I force myself to go.
I realize that there are people who don't have a safe, comfortable home, a warm bed to sleep in, or enough to eat. I realize there are kids who may not get a Christmas and will have to go back to school and see their peers with iPads and new bikes. I believe that what we endure builds our character, makes us strong, but I also know it can be heartbreaking for a parent to realize they can't give their child what he needs, or sometimes wants. Every kid deserves a treat now and then.
For the last 4 years or so I have tried to make Logan realize that some kids go hungry, some are cold. He is starting to 'get it'. Last year when he turned 18 was the first glimpse I got into his giving nature, when he gave away all of his birthday money, over $5,000, and again this year, over $2,500. He agreed to this, along with many other donations over the last 24 months, but I wondered if it really meant anything to him, because he has no concept of money. If you have $5 or $5,000, to him, you have money and that's that. He has no perception of what things cost or how long it takes to save the money, so for graduation instead of donating money somewhere, I decided to take the $1,500 and buy personal care items for our local food pantry. We were able to get them from Dollar Tree, so it was a nice size haul! This helped him understand what we were doing.
This year we discussed taking a part of our Christmas budget, and doing a little fundraising and helping out a child. I had to explain to Logan- we have a certain amount of money, and if I spend some of that money on someone else, I will have less to spend on you. At first he seemed unsure. I went on to remind him that there might be a little girl or boy who will be waking up on Christmas to no gifts, but we could help. Wouldn't that be good? He agreed. He actually agreed to give up Christmas presents to let them go to someone else. Someone who needed them more. Even when I teased him and told him that means he will only be getting books, he agreed (and believes me!).
This is a kid who, at the first sign of Christmas decorations, commercials or songs, believes the following day just must be Christmas. He asks every single day if Santa is coming, even though we're counting down with an advent calendar. Even though he believes he's only getting books he gets giddy at the thought of Christmas morning and with a huge grin says "I ah-cited to Frissmiss!" He has been waiting for weeks for me to get the tree put up, because if we don't, Santa may just pass us by and he will go hungry if he misses his cookies.
I had resigned myself to embracing the giving spirit and giving to someone who truly needs it. I had tried to convince myself that Logan has everything he needs, and anything else is just bonus stuff. I had done a great job at talking myself into this, but something nagged at me, pulling at my heartstrings. Something that had been sitting in the back of my mind for more than 2 years. Something that I couldn't see myself spending the money on, when so many others needed things. I knew it would be amazing for Logan, and I knew I wanted that for him in the worst way, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
On Tuesday, December 2 I spent the very last dime of our Christmas budget on a child that isn't my own. It felt fantastic to know the joy this would bring to this boy, but at the same time it was hard to let go of the things I wanted for my own child. I got home Tuesday evening, descended to the basement to light our wood stove and sat quietly listening to the crackle of the newborn fire, thinking about my day. I pulled out my phone to check prices on that one dream item- a racing simulator seat. I scrolled through, looking at reviews, prices, quality. Logan has a love for all things that are driven, and wants more than anything in this world to drive a car of his own, by himself. He has even saved some money toward it, including the handful of change he often has in his pocket. If you ask him what it's for, he will tell you that he is buying a car soon.
He plays Grand Theft Auto like a boss, even though he plays the Logan way which is stopping for pedestrians and abiding by all of the rules of the road. He learns the huge layout of the cities in no time, memorizing where to get a car wash first. His grandfather has kept a junked little SUV with a rotted frame in his driveway because it's Logan's. He has put about 5 new batteries in it I think, just so Logan can listen to the radio and run the windshield wipers. Logan will sit for hours, just dreaming that he's on the road, and he will wash that little SUV until his hands are soggy and frozen.
I sat back watching the fire lapping up over a log and thought of the day I got my own license. The freedom I felt, to just get in my car and go. To realize that Logan may never have that just squeezes my heart. I say 'may' and not won't because I refuse to use that word when it comes to Logan. We have always said that he may be challenged but he is not limited, and if he never gives up on himself, he can do anything. I can't ever let go of that sliver of hope- he may some day drive. It may not be today, or next year or in 5 years, but I am not giving up.
As I made my way upstairs to make dinner, I noticed my phone was still open to Amazon, and a GTR Racing Simulator seat. What the heck, I thought. I captured it in a screen shot and posted to the crumb diaries page with a plea for someone to help me find it cheaper, even second hand would be fine. Immediately people started to comment suggestions, and then even offered to help buy it. A GoFundMe was set up, even though I protested, they insisted. They were not taking no for an answer. While extremely grateful, I am used to giving the fund, not getting the fund, so it all felt strange to me. Not knowing how to feel, I logged off of FB and make dinner. I fed dogs, then a cat, then chickens. I showed Logan a funny cat video. I tried to stay busy and hoped that when I logged back on there may be a link to a cheap seat.
What happened next stunned me. One of our amazing readers had reached out to the GTR Racing Simulator company, and Howard Yang, the CEO of the company had replied offering to gift Logan with a seat. The first time I read this, all I could manage to say was "Oh my god", over and over and over. Was I reading this right? Things started to snowball as people started to realize what had been offered. They rushed over to thank Mr. Yang, and gushed at how excited they were for Logan. All of this excitement was swirling back and forth between FB pages, and while I was definitely extremely excited, my entire spirit just filled with a peaceful sense of such gratitude. I was in awe.. I was emotional...I was completely overwhelmed.
Mr. Yang and I exchanged several emails, and on Wednesday he called me. He told me that he was as impressed by us as we were by him, and he appreciated what we've done with our platform. I can't even articulate how it felt to hear that. I told him that I am not often at a loss for words, but I literally did not know what to say. He also told me that he was not only going to send Logan the seat, but he would completely outfit it with the accessories- the steering wheel, foot pedals flat screen monitor and game system itself. He had also put out an invitation for people to send him Christmas cards for Logan, he would forward them along to us.
I have to admit. I am not a super mushy person. I try to live in reality as much as possible, and not get carried away...but this filled my eyes with tears. I was actually shaking, and that never happens. Again, I couldn't find the words to express how I felt. He understood, and there was really no need to say anything but thank you.
I can't remember the last time I was actually, honestly 'excited' for Christmas. I guess it was years ago when my kids were very young, but it's been a really long time. I am going home to put up our tree- Santa Claus is coming to our house!
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