Santa - Are You Listening?
My little one, Rachel, still marginally believes in Santa Claus. She is skeptical of his timing, as she should be, and very concerned about how his sleigh might handle the elements. She deeply appreciates that it is a zero-emissions way to travel. At nine years old, there are just more questions than answers about Santa but she is willing to believe for one more year, it seems. She was quite reluctant to complete her letter, which all family members are required to write and place at the fireplace mantel, along with treats for Santa and the reindeer. We have graduated from milk, cookies and carrots to a can of La Croix, a wrapped madeline and package of Twizzlers for the reindeer, figuring they are pretty tired of the same old things, and bonus - our items are grab-n-go!
Rachel’s letter this year was heartbreaking. Instead of the expected laundry list of things she wants for herself, she wrote (in invisible ink that required quick parental ingenuity to read), that she deserved absolutely nothing this year. She explained that it had been a hard year with school and that maybe she had not been doing her very best. She hadn’t made new friends or done anything special to warrant getting gifts, so it was totally okay for him to skip her this year and make sure others got gifts. She went on to inquire about him and Mrs. Claus, and remind him to take good care of the reindeer.
My husband and I were nearly brought to tears. This poor little hard-working darling, who by all accounts had a fantastic year, wanted no gifts and communicated so much hopelessness in that little letter. She had likely absorbed much of the angst and trepidation we all feel and decided even Christmas was just not worth asking for anything more. Rachel will have a plenty of gifts to open on Christmas, thanks to her Santas that believe she is worthy. And I have retracted my initial letter to Santa (which asked for really fuzzy slippers in case anyone out there is listening) in order to write a different letter. This is what I really should be asking for this year, for all of the Rachels out there who see that this holiday is about so much more:
Dear Santa -
I have been very good this year. So I would like to request that in lieu of gifts I can open you grant a few of these other wishes. This year has been hard. Anything we can do to make it better will be the best holiday gift ever. So here is what I want:
I want for us to come together and treat each other like we all are important. There is not “us” and “them” when it comes to how we proceed. I think if we truly believed that everyone out there was just an extended family member, we would all treat each other a little better.
I want for us to embrace what we have and learn to stop longing for what we don’t. We need to stop wasting precious time believing that we are missing something in our lives and just go out there and live life to its fullest, even if that means a temporary hold on some of the things we really love. Life does go on, with or without us. I'd rather it be WITH us.
I want for us to believe in our own abilities to create what we want to see more of in the world. Peace, love, acceptance, charity, laughter, forgiveness. All of it starts with each of us. I think everyone needs a really good reminder.
I want for us to love ourselves and to honor our efforts and stop using unkind words as a way to push us into action. For each of us to be able to let go of any negative thoughts we have about our own lives would absolutely change the world, one heart, one person at a time.
I want for us to remember and live in the reality that better times are ahead. There is no reason to fret, for this is temporary, and it might lead us to something better. I don’t want there to be despair about what didn’t get done this year, or what was missed. I want us to fondly remember what we DID get a chance to do, and what we DID have the opportunity to enjoy. And that tomorrow is another day.
I guess I think every person, young and old, should be gifted a little bit of hope. Hope for better days, hope for good health, hope for communities that care, hope for smiles that outshine any mask that tries to cover them. Hope will look different for each of us, but we know it when we have it. And we all need a reminder that hope is still there, waiting for us to embrace.
I will echo Rachel's sentiments and send my love to you, Mrs. Claus and the reindeer. Thank you for not being afraid to be a symbol of hope for so many, year after year. I'm sure it is exhausting. I'll do my best to be a messenger on the ground for you, this holiday and always. - Lory