I’ve managed to stay out of the malls at the most busiest times this year.  I’m finished most of my Christmas shopping and today I went out early to pick up a few last minute items I needed.  The kids have been off school this week and we’ve just kicking back and hanging around the house baking, watching Christmas movies – getting much needed R & R.   One of the reasons why I hate going to the malls at this time of the year is watching people running all over the place to fill their Christmas with material things, often forgetting the real meaning of Christmas.  It’s not about material things, it’s about Jesus’ birthday and the gift he gave to the world.  It’s not about rushing to and from it’s about helping others, spending quality time with one-another and giving rather than receiving.

Yesterday at about 5:00 pm I decided to walk up to the store to put a few letters in the mail.  We are looking after a friend’s dog while her family is away – a gorgeous German Shepherd named Rex.  Off the boys, Rex and I went to the store and we we’re enjoying a beautiful evening looking at all the lights and just laughing and enjoying the season.    On the way home, we came to a cross walk and as I always do, I made sure I looked around before the boys stepped off the curb to make sure there were no speeding cars as cross walks can be one of the most dangerous places.  My youngest was ahead of me with Rex and because we were all in a lighthearted mood our defenses were down and Rex was on a relaxed leash quite a bit ahead of my son.   I am usually closer to the boys as we cross streets, but there really was only one car at the light and no other cars in sight.

As we were crossing the street heading west –  I was laughing with my other son when out of the corner of my eye I saw this red car driving very fast heading east and the left hand indicator light was blinking meaning the car was on a collision course with my youngest son  ahead of me.  It all happened so fast, it took me a matter of seconds to realize that the car was not stopping and about to mow my son and Rex down.  I quickly stepped ahead put one hand on my son’s collar and my other hand on his arm and pulled with all my might to get him the hell out of the way.  In my horror I realized that Rex was still in the way and I had no time to help him.  It seemed like forever and in slow motion but it was a matter of seconds, I closed my eyes and braced myself for the dog to get run over.  The woman driving finally saw us and slammed on her brakes and managed to stop literally inches directly in front of the dog.

I stood in the intersection staring at the woman and I was furious.    I approached her car and was heading to the driver’s side and I was about to unleash a fury like never before.  In my head the words were screaming out and let me tell you the words were not very nice, as I headed toward the car and looked in the woman’s eyes I realized she was terrified.  She was holding her chest and breathing hard and she put her hand up toward me as if to say – please,  I don’t think I can handle this.  I recognized that she was most likely as upset as I was.  As I got closer to the car she put her head down and put her hand back up.  I stood for a second and she looked at me again and I calmly looked at her and mouthed – “Slow down and look where you’re going”.

As I looked into that woman’s eyes and realized how scared she was, I immediately lost my anger and was able to be more human.  Not an easy thing for me as I’m Irish, I have a famous Irish temper and my husband’s nickname for me is the fighting Irish!   So this is my message to everyone this Christmas.  Stop, take in your surroundings and slow down to smell the eggnog.  Get out of the malls, really look around you, spend time with the important people in your life, friends and family and don’t worry about having enough material things, worry about having enough quality time.  Merry Christmas everyone and may your season be a safe, joyful and a peaceful one!

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Just taking one step at a time and writing about the simple pleasures that make me smile.

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