To The Child of the Home,
Don’t worry yourself. I received your wish list and everything is as it should be.
My, my, my, how you’ve filled up that single bed this year. Now that you’re “all grown up” I bet you wish I’d stop thinking of you as a child. But there are a few things you don’t know about Saint Nick and here’s one of them: I’ll always see you as you were on that Christmas morning in your 4th year; sleepy eyed, with that I–love-this-world expression. Even when you grow older than clay and crankier than a garden faucet, I’ll still see the child lurking within you, the one who asked for a soccer ball when you secretly wanted a stuffed teddy bear.
Here’s something else you don’t know about ol’ Santee Clause: I’ve been bringing you gifts all through the year, every year, all this time. Yes, it’s true. You never suspected and won’t know the truth of it until you’re well into your adult years and have stopped dreaming of a hairy man wiggling a Play Station down your chimney. By the time you read this letter, Christmas may feel more like a burden and Santa Clause will be nothing more than a man at the mall who inspires psychotic fancies. I know it’s hard to believe, but trust me, you’re going to give up a lot of the best things you’ve got going for you right now: imagination, magic, playtime, curiosity. In many ways you’re wiser tonight than you’ll ever be.
This is why I come back as often as I can, to remind you of what’s really important; to gift back the things those silly adults tell you don’t matter anymore. The greatest gift I’ll ever give you will not be that fully powered Barbie Mansion or the stationary backhoe. Oh no! The greatest gift I’ll ever give you is:
“Check it out!”-
You were curious the day you were born and from what I’ve seen it hasn’t slowed down yet. Good! Others will tell you the night is always black but where I come from it lights up in green, purple and blue; like a rainbow colored curtain waving on the arctic breeze. The world will want to box your thoughts which means you’re going to have to keep the lid open. Others leap at the heels of those who are curious. Why do you think I wear these big ol’ boots? Snow protection?
“Watch the angle!”-
Yeah, I know you hear this from the sidelines of the soccer field but this gift applies to more than playing goalie. If you pay attention, and listen to your gut you’ll be able to see when something ugly is charging your way. That’ll give you enough time to respond; a chance to “cut the angle” so you can defend against looming disaster. You don’t have to take everything life shoots at you square on. You’ve got a say in this game too.
“Go have fun!” –
Don’t know if I’ve seen you hesitant to join in on an adventure yet. If someone isn’t taking you on one you’re always out and about creating your own. Sad truth is, if you’re like most, you’ll lose this gift, no matter how many times I give it to you. Before long you’ll start thinking life happens in an office or on a couch. You’ll give up your gotta-try list for a to-do list. Don’t. Keep searching for the unexpected. If you ever stop climbing trees then start climbing rocks. When you stop building forts, build a game room. Don’t stop biking the block until you’ve biked the California coast.
If, in 30 years, you’re not asking me to bring you a Grand Sport 5.7-liter/330-deerpower LT4 OHV V-8 sleigh, coupled with a six-speed manual, revised ports, larger valves, taller cam profiles, a higher compression ratio, rear fender flares, and a paint scheme inspired by a ’63 racing sleigh with 9 perfectly matched, testosterone injected deer…well, you’ll know you’ve lost your adventure again.
“No one knows for sure.” –
I heard you asking how a guy like me can carry a present for every child on the planet (I get that one quit a bit). Then you wanted to know why the jet planes weren’t using the same fuel as Santa’s sleigh. (Now that one’s a bit rare.) You’ve never hesitated to ask about the boogey man in your closet, where God got the dirt to make the planet, if your Grandma could have a garden in Heaven, who your angel is guarding you from, and why you were terrified of tsunamis before you ever saw an ocean. It’s the unknown you’re asking about, pure delicious mystery swirling about you, much like the smell of your three day worn socks. And just when you’re absolutely sure you’ve got it figured out you’ll wake up and discover how wrong you are and you’ll have to start all over again. Don’t ever get to thinking you understand everything. Don’t ever get to thinking you need to understand everything. Trust me when I say life reads better if you end it with a question mark.
“I’m glad you stuck around.” –
Yeah, I know how your parents are subjecting you to the “mushy stuff” all the time. You’re wishing they’d say goodnight, turn off the light and close the door without a nightly display of affection. But here’s a little secret; something goes terribly wrong when you stop growing up and start growing out. You’re gonna forget how nice it is to have a cheerleader in your life. You’ll expect this same degree of love from your mate, your kids, and your friends and before you know it you figure being surrounded by people who love the snot out of you is normal; nothing extraordinary. You’ll mope about visiting these people every other Christmas. You’ll go long stretches of time appreciating love as much as you appreciate indoor plumbing. Never…never allow love to go underrated, undervalued, or be undersold. ‘Tis a sad and terrible thing to set aside a gift such as this, the greatest gift of all.
Tonight is not the night, now is much too soon, but the day will come when you’ll find MY letter in your box and then you’ll know: the greatest gift I ever gave you was not that fully powered Barbie Mansion or the stationary backhoe. It was my home, my support, my heart, my soul.
Merry Christmas little one! And to all a good life!
Author of the week, Monica Wilcox is a regular contributor for Care2.com, OwningPink.com, and FemCentral.com and Muse In the Valley. Her work has been featured on McSweeney’s.net and in Parent: Wise magazine. When she’s not editing her first novel, she’s blogging about women’s issues, living green and everything woo-woo. She’s been advised to publish a dream journal. Until then you can find more of her nightly drama at Femmetales.com.