Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are of Christmas. The wishes and the hope of the season. The anticipation started in October, when the weather would turn cooler and the JCPenney Wish Book would arrive in our mailbox. Yes… a catalog that came via the mail man that was delivered to our home! My sister and I would take turns looking at it and marking pages so our mom and dad could see what our hearts desired. The edges would be dog eared and worn by the first of November. My patient brother, after getting his driver’s license, would take his two little sisters shopping at the mall. The holiday ended the day after Christmas, when we would head to Target with our mom, return wrong sized gifts, spend gift cards, and buy wrapping paper for next Christmas. All year long, I would wish for the perfect gift. Getting them and giving them.
I remember sitting around the Christmas tree in anticipation of what I would open. My mom knew how to do Christmas! The tree was straight out of Better Homes and Gardens, before DIY was popular. My mother could run circles around Martha Stewart, and still could! The wrapping paper matched the ornaments that matched the lights that matched the tree skirt. It was different each year. But, it was always awesome! My mother always knew what we wanted and never did disappoint! I wished for a Mrs. Beasley doll when I was 5. Got it. A Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live 1975-1985 5 LP Record Box Set of Albums in 1986. Got it. I wanted a chimpanzee and a set of uneven parallel bars when I was 7. No, neither of those items were under the tree Christmas morning. I still need to ask my parents about that…
As we opened our gifts, I would look at my parents and wished they had more to open. I wished for my mom a new convertible that she could take to work each day. I wished a riding snow blower for my dad. Maybe I should have wished for a truck or something… but either way, no one ever had a car or a snow blower under the tree. I always asked my parents if they had gotten everything they wanted for Christmas. They would always say, “We have everything we need!” My dad would smile as he held up his jar of peanuts, and say thank you as if he really did receive a premium gift! For some reason, I remember that the man always got a jar of nuts or candy in his stocking! Either way, he was happy. Their gifts were always practical, and functional. Bathrobes, slippers, gloves…
What does my real Christmas Wish List include this year? Nothing for myself. Nada, zilch, nothin’. I WANT a ton of things… but NEED very little. My list includes wishes for my family and friends.
For my husband, John, I hope for time. Time off that he can actually take and enjoy. Time to golf, fish, and run. I hope for more time with him, holding his hand and just “being.” (OK, that is a little hope for me, too.) I hope for him to always have a set of Phillips and Flat Head screwdrivers at his fingertips. (I had to look that up. I call them X’s and I’s and lose or misplace them a lot. Every day.) That he makes me feel safe. I hope he knows how much I love and appreciate him. Every. Single. Day.
For my youngest, Benjamin (20), I hope for the right relationships to come into his life. For him to keep his kind and loving heart. Most of all, for him to know how proud I am of him. That he will always be comfortable in his skin. To hold his head high and be proud of his accomplishments. To know what a hard day’s work feels like and the satisfaction that comes with it. I hope that he would always share his smile. His smile that makes the corners of his eyes wrinkle up.
For my oldest, Morgan (23), I hope for her to feel happiness and peace. Peace in knowing she is loved and adored by her mom. Peace in knowing she is valuable and cherished. To know that she is good inside and I see that. To realize how smart she is and how kind she is to others makes a difference. For her to always make people smile when she laughs. She has a great laugh! To always be honest. With herself and others. I hope for authentic people to enter her life and stay there. That she would feel pure happiness in her heart. For her to always know that she can come to me. No matter what.
I hope that my parents and siblings will always know that I am here for them if they need me. I am only a phone call or a plane ticket away. That no matter how far we are from one another, my heart is always with them.
For my friends to be happy and healthy. That there would be no sickness or sadness in their lives. I hope for strength, for those who are ill and for those who are facing challenges in their lives.
This Christmas, if I could only get one thing, one single thing that would make my heart happy, is to have both of my children, my husband and I, under the same roof on December 24th. To wake up on Christmas day, have a big breakfast together in our pajamas, and just be a family.
After being a parent for almost 24 years, I now realize what my parents meant when they said they had everything. I have everything I need. I don’t NEED a new Kitchen Aid Mixer in Copper, a pair of 1/4 carat diamond studs for my ears, or a heated She Shed in the back yard. (OK, John, if you are reading this… I’d love the She Shed…) If I could, I would give my wishes away and turn them into hope, so that my family and friends would feel peace in their lives. So they could be happy. I have all that I need. Not everyone needs a chimpanzee or a set of uneven parallel bars. But everyone deserves to have wishes and hope, not only at Christmas, but always.