Another year gone by, another yuletide season cemented within the annals of Christmas past, and for the third season in a row perhaps the most delightful part of my holiday was the SeizingPsych Adopt-a-Family program, a program we do in conjunction with Pinland Bowling in Dundalk and this year, Bill’s Music from Catonsville. As the SeizingPsych Social Media Director (yes, that’s a thing) my job is typically to keep the Facebook page supplied with fresh material, but because I am an able-bodied member of the SeizingPsych family nucleus, I am usually called upon to help with the delivery of toys, clothes and food to selected families. Every year I look forward to the opportunity to give back to those truly needful whose lives have been affected by mental illness and especially those children involved. For me it is sort-of “reason for the season,” if you will.
On the surface, its all about giving back. From the perspective of a survivor of mental illness, it’s about paying it forward. It’s charity, altruism. But inherently the act of charity for the families involved in the Adopt-a-Family program is, as I have come to notice, much more than just charity. It is about the anticipation of our parents leading up to Christmas and the look of surprise on their faces when they realize that this Christmas will be like none before. It’s the gradual understanding on their part that their children got everything they asked for and then some, that there will be a Christmas dinner unlike any dinner with which they are accustomed. It’s about the tears and the struggle to hold them back. It's about the silence that ensues with the stifled speechlessness of a gratitude that could only come with the satisfaction of a happy family. Most significantly, however, it’s about the children. It is about the presents, about waking up before first light to open them. It is about the smiles and the laughter, and it’s about playing with toys. It is about Santa, his reindeer, and as I would like to imagine, nothing less than Christmas magic.
But all this difference would not have been made if it weren’t for our donors. We had a particularly successful Giving Tuesday campaign this year and received numerous donations to SeizingPsych personally, Pinland Bowling, and our collection box at Bill’s Music. Many of you reading this now are of the group of people who made the Adopt-a-Family program a huge success again this year, and it is mainly for you that I am writing this blog entry. My thoughts today are primarily meant to thank you for your contribution and express our hope that you will keep the spirit of Christmas alive throughout the new year and continue to support those in need. The magic, it turns out, is all yours.