Magic, Santa, and My Truth
I want to go back, to when I knew, beyond any doubt, that reindeer flew through the sky by the light of a little red nose, to when the most important thing in my day was deciding what to play in the moment, and to when my entire world was a couple of square miles and encompassed my backyard and my friend’s homes, my school, the grocery store, and the neighborhood pool.
I watch my children this Christmas with different eyes because they are older and so am I.
Baby girl writes to our elf Michael almost every night, asking questions about his age, and birthdate, and does he have a girlfriend? Last night a doll bed was made for him, the covers pulled back and a sign which said, “Michael, this is for you.” She does this without fanfare, backed by a genuine curiosity and a kind heart. I can see a tiny thread of doubt beginning to creep into her eyes. When she asks me questions, she watches me, searching my face for answers she is not hearing.
I remember when the magic almost disappeared for me. I was about eight, and a friend and I began discussing Santa. She was foot-stomping adamant he was real. So much so that she marched downstairs and told her mom that I wasn’t sure about Santa. Her mom, a beautiful woman with long, dark hair and a smile as big as the ocean, sat next to me and told me a story, how someone had delivered all of these beautiful presents to children at the hospital were she worked and how nobody, none of the doctors or nurses or people on the floor saw these presents being carried in. That the only person who could have done that was Santa. I mean, she said, those presents just appeared. And who else knew those kids needed gifts? Who else knew exactly what they wanted? Her eyes sparkled as she told me this story, full of magic and joy and truth. It was Santa, she said, no doubt. And I believed her with all of my heart, hung onto her every word and decided right then, that yes, Santa was real and always would be.
My son, who curled up on me tonight while we watched a movie, who loves cuttlefish because he believes they are “cuddle-fish,” and this boy loves to cuddle, the one who sings and plays his way through the day, wants to dress up as Santa next Halloween. His excitement for Christmas began the day after Halloween and has not waned one ounce since then. We have baked Christmas cookies and listened to carols almost everyday since Thanksgiving. His patience for snow, which has yet to arrive, is wearing thin.
There is so much sarcasm, cynicism, political rhetoric, negativity focus, crap-tastic crap going on out there in the world and it seems all newsfeeds and Facebook want to focus on is the crap-tastic crap.
Not me. I want to get lost, with my family, in the spirit of Christmas.
I want to sing Christmas carols and bake cookies. I want to watch delicate snowflakes fall and listen as each one lands, like silent angels, on my mittens. I want to smile as I pick out just the right present and feel that warm glow, watching that person open it. I want to hear my kid’s voices, way before the waking hour, giggling and shouting for us to wake up because Santa came. I want to watch movies and drink cocoa and fall asleep with a good book.
I want to sing Silent Night by the light of a candle, surrounded by the warmth of a church and to allow my heart heart and mind to be still, to feel peace.
There have been many Christmases, as there are for everyone, where joy and peace and magic felt so far away, I wasn’t sure I could reach them, where the magic didn’t die but its light certainly dimmed. In those Christmases, it wasn’t until I sat in the pew at 11:30 pm, and listened to the words of the carols, “All is calm, all is bright…,” and my mind calmed. And my heart felt that spark of magic. And I could sing the words because they were true.
My truth today? There are so many things I could wish for, so many things I would like to have but when I stop and look around, when I feel the warmth of my home and the love from my family and friends, my mind stops. And my heart beats softly.
And I know.
I have all I could ever need.