These are not the actual gloves. They are brave stunt mittens risking everything to be here.

Some of you may recall I had a bit of classroom drama with one of my daughters this year.

She was switched to another classroom and her entire demeanor is lighter. It’s like someone took a weight off of her shoulders. She is happier, she is enjoying school again, and every day she comes home smiling instead of looking stressed out reminds me I did the right thing.

This morning she pulls these beautiful, thick blue and white striped gloves out of her backpack.

Me: Where did you get those?
A: From the teacher.
Me: What did she say when she gave them to you?
A: Here are some gloves for you.
Me: Did other kids get gloves, too?
A: Yes, anyone not wearing gloves.
Me: About how many kids was that?
A: About 11. Oh! There were hats, too!
Me: Did you get a hat?
A: No, I have a hat.
Me: How many kids got hats?
A: About 10.

A little backstory. The other day I realized my daughter’s shoe sole was flapping. It was too thin to be repaired and I ordered her some new shoes (thank you Cyber Monday) but they won’t be here for another day or so because they are in transit. I’ve been wondering things like, “Has anyone at school noticed?” and, “Do the teachers think I’m neglecting my daughter with those shoes?” and, “Maybe they’re too busy to notice. I hope so.”

So the gloves, well, I was worried there was some sort of poor-person thing going on where my kid would get gloves and I would get a visit from child services asking me why my daughter doesn’t have gloves in the winter. If the gloves were the only thing I could tell them the truth and be done with it, “They’re in the wash because she didn’t put them away and the dog drooled all over them.” But if they noticed the shoes, too? Well then it would sound like I was just making things up and my daughter isn’t being provided for properly in a Midwest winter.

So to find out someone just donated gloves to the whole class and other kids got them? It was a huge moment of relief. I was able to enjoy the gift my daughter got instead of worrying that I would be accused of neglecting her.

The weird thing is, all that stress and fear and panic happened during the course of that short conversation. Even though it dissipated mostly when we got to the end and I realized other kids got gloves and that there were hats, too, and my daughter didn’t get a hat because she already has one her Auntie made for me but was too small for my big head but fit my daughter perfectly so she didn’t need a hat.

I even felt a little fistbump moment with myself that my kid didn’t need gloves and a hat. Like maybe I wasn’t a complete failure at providing for my children for a hot minute.¬†On the other hand, I’m a little bummed she didn’t forget her hat yesterday because she said the hats were really cute. I think she wanted one.

Bottom line: I’m really glad my kid has some new gloves. Most of their clothing comes from (a very nice town’s) Goodwill and while I make sure to get the cute stuff with the right characters and the nice labels with no stains, getting something new is always special. I’m glad she feels special, but I feel bad I wasn’t able to provide that moment for her right now.

I’m just going to be happy for her. Going down the not good enough right now rabbit hole isn’t going to do anyone any good. It won’t make time go faster, it won’t make Mr. Brickie’s raises happen sooner, and it will put a damper on the spirit of Christmas I’m enjoying so much. Luckily, my love of the holidays and the season is strong enough to weather the occasional ding or dent.

In fact, I’m going to put on some holiday music right now and dance with my 4yo while I wait to hear from Mr. Brickie at the LIHEAP office. I’ll update this post and publish it after I hear from him so we can have some closure on that particular issue!

Update: Application for LIHEAP is in and taken care of. It takes two weeks to find out if it went through and if so, how much has been granted. I guess the fourth time really was the charm! Now he’s hunkered down searching for gigs, jobs, or other seasonal work….looking for new clients, updating current clients, and checking the listings of things for sale. I’m certain he is happy beyond measure he won’t have to go back and wait in the cold anymore for that particular issue.

I’m telling you, there is never, ever a dull moment around here.

If you need help paying for your electric or gas bill, LIHEAP is a national program. You can visit the main LIHEAP website and find your local intake office here. The grants are there and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. You can call before going in to see if the grant is still available in your area. If you need help, please, get help. There is no inherent virtue in struggling more than you have to.