Those that follow us know we enjoy our Elf on the Shelf friends. I know that not everyone likes the Elf idea and that's ok, to each there own. I guess my problem is why do we always have to have those people who just have to take a sour approach to everything. I think by far my favorite comment has been, "So you are ok with lying to your children? You know they think the Elf is real." You know what the Elf is real. Chaz and I are Santa's elves and we are quite alright with continuing the Christmas magic even if you don't want to believe and even if you want to consider it lying. Our family is having a ton of fun creating these memories even if you think it's based around a lie. I wish the Elf existed when I was a child. I know my Mom would have had a blast with it.
Children who go through catastrophic events need hope. They need it way more than any of us know. They need to know that the silver lining exists and sometimes they need to see it. Sometimes children get beaten down by what life throws at us. Sometimes they need something tangible to inspire their hope again. I believe it is our job to take the tangible and turn it into the intangible. Let me tell you our Elf story.
November 2011, the hospitals had just merged. It was a very trying time for so many. Our little family had been through so much. The hospital climate was horrible. We had power struggles all over the place. People were in horrible moods and they all took it out on our families. I would say our family's lowest point was at this time. It was so toxic there and the toxicity spread like disease. One day our oldest just broke down and began crying. She said, "They don't want me here. Why can't we just go home?" Then the youngest chimed in and said, "They'll let us go when Daddy's legs grow back." Obviously a serious talk needed to occur. Our poor babies were putting all their hope into the fact that Chaz's legs would grow back like a animal they saw on animal planet.
We all sat down and talked about how Daddy's legs were not growing back. Then more tears followed, they had lost there hope. They wanted their Daddy to have his legs back. They wanted to go home to their friends. They wanted their normal back. It was at this point our cuties believed the Army would keep us there forever. The oldest lashed out about how Daddy was ours and not the Army's and they needed to let us go home.
Once the tears had dried and lots of cuddling occurred. I began to rack my brain about what could we do to have some fun and put a little hope back into our home. My friend suggested the Elf. I picked Johnny up from Target and brought him home and we read his story together. The girls loved it. We could see that spark of childhood hope and innocence come back. Johnny had such a great time in our home in 2011, he brought back a friend, Rosie, in 2012.
Our girls were 5 and 8 when all our fun with the wounded world started. We protected their innocence as much as possible. But because they were surrounded in such a serious, sometimes devastating world, it was hard to maintain it. Most of us don't see this kind of reality until much later in life. Most of us will never suffer a day in our lives. Our girls' memories are now full of injuries, illnesses and death. There's nothing I can do to shield them from that, but every once in a while I can remind them that you must believe in order to receive. Every once in a while I have to find some hope somewhere for them.
They know that in order for Johnny and Rosie to continue their fun, they must continue to believe in them. They know that in order for Santa to come, they must believe in him. And most importantly they know in order to receive the grace and blessings of our Lord, they must believe in Him.
Some may not like the way we have handled our situation, but it was what our daughters needed to help heal their wounded hearts. We tell them about God's love all the time, but when you are in an environment surrounded by constant heartache, struggle and anger, it is hard for children to still see that hope. Sometimes they need something tangible to spark that hope.
We found hope in a little Elf. The little Elf helped develop more hope and helped our girls see that hope still exists. Once we sparked the hope, it was our job to keep that hope alive past the holidays and we have. Nothing makes me happier, then when I hear our daughters tell their friends "You just have to pray for that and know that there's hope, because it's there" or that "Jesus loves us so much and loves that we are so happy about his birthday." It's those moments that occur that tell me my friend's little Elf idea was what we needed to get back on track during that dark time.
Christmas is the time that we remember the miracle that is our Lord and Savior's birth. Christmas is the time we all take the time to reflect on how blessed we are. We do not see anything wrong in the fact we tell them the true Christmas story and we also mix in a little fun and bring them a little hope in the form of a Elf that gets into mischief and makes them smile the days before Santa comes and when we celebrate Jesus' birthday. Our Elf does not take away from the real reason of the season. Our Elf reminds our daughters that hope can be found. Our elves are reminders that hope does exist and that you must believe in order to receive. It might sound silly to some, but these little elves blessed us and got our hope back on track. And if "lying to my children" lights the hope back into their hearts, then cast the stones because I am guilty, no trial needed.