Letter To My Son: Here’s To The Holidays

Jake,

As we pull into our garage, another day behind us and a new evening ahead, you fuss with your seatbelt as you anxiously wait to be free of the car. The quiet engine is your cue that it’s safe to unbuckle and you waste no time.

Your backpack rests on the floor of the backseat, forgotten along side your lunchbag as you abandon the car and rush through the door to the house. You race up the stairs, shoelaces flying untied and unruly as ever.

Your voice flies behind you, leaving me to guess exactly what you’ve said as you disappear at the top of the stairs.

I unbuckle myself from the car and gather into my arms all the items left behind. Sighing, I kick aside the dirty laundry as I follow in your wake, stretching from under the mound of things threatening to topple from my arms so that I can close the garage door.

When I reach the top of the stairs, I turn the corner to find your socks and shoes kicked about the room, removed in motion as you had made your way to the Christmas tree. I drop the load in my arms and search the room.

There you are, leaned over the arm of a chair, reaching for the socket to plug in the tree. You are singing Christmas songs, Rudolph your current favorite.

The tree flickers and comes to life, blue and red twinkling lights strung about the evergreen branches blink out at me from across the room. You’ve managed to turn on one light over the kitchen table, otherwise the room is dim and the sudden lighting of the tree in the corner has the walls dancing with bright colors.

You pop out from behind the small table there and roll off the chair next to it to sit on the ground in front of the tree. Your tree.

The tree is littered with memories and ornaments. Lots of snowmen hang about the boughs from our first tree when I thought it would be neat to decorate in theme. Then there are glass bulbs we unintentionally break one of every year. And special ones, ones made by you in preschool and others personalized to commemorate something special like your first Christmas and your favorite movie when you were 2, Cars.

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There you sit, barefooted and in your school uniform staring at the magic and beauty that is the tree you helped decorate. In your opinion, it’s the best thing ever to have a lit tree in our home. And everyday, without fail, you make your way clumsily through the backseat of the car and clutter, over the laundry waiting to be washed and up the stairs to plug in the magic and spirit of our tree.

I love your unwavering joy and holiday spirit. You embody everything that this time of year means. Giving and gifting, thinking of others and of course, making wishes for a beautiful new year and for a few things you’d love to have.

I’m blessed because while you wish for a new dinosaur or a new toy truck, you also consider things to get for others and ways to help spread the love and cheer. If it were up to you, my son, I’d be baking all day for every friend and family member.

If it were up to you, a shopping cart would be filled to the brim with toys and goodies for boys and girls too ill to celebrate or go home from the hospital. You’d fill boxes with clothes to donate to those who find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

Jake, your heart is big, full of love and this never ending joy I can’t fathom. You surprise me constantly and I fall in love with you over and over again as I watch you grow into a kind and considerate person.

My son, I’m blessed to be your mother and, as you read this a grown man celebrating your holidays however you wish, I hope you always remember the joy you felt when those tree lights sparked and lit the room up from the inside out. I hope that your holidays, though all grown up and with different meanings, still hold a little magic and lots of love.

All the love to the moon and back,

Your Mom

May the beauty of the holidays, however you choose to celebrate, fill your heart with joy and love.

Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

2011

 

Love’s Second Chance

Life is huge.

It’s bigger than I ever believed it to be as a little girl, even with my wild fantasies and my huge imagination. Under that curly mop rested a mind that could fathom anything. My days were centered around what imaginary life I could live in the wild enchanted forests with my imaginary friends. Reality was for the birds. I wanted adventure and magic.

I thought I had it all down, that I was open minded enough to understand what was in front of me, to believe in what was made up and a little wiggle room for all the stuff in between. That nothing would surprise me because I knew it all.

At 7 years old, I was awesome and nothing could bring me down.

Now I’m grown and my curly mop isn’t so curly and my imagination still runs wild but reality has a firm grasp on my day to day life. They’ve swapped places. I now live in reality while I make room for my imagination.

And in this switch up as I’ve grown and become wiser, more grounded, I find I actually know very little.

Especially when it comes to matters of the heart.

I’ve been a lover since I was very little, chasing the people I liked and wanted to be liked back in equal amounts of adoration and kisses. Holding hands and sneaking smooches under the slide on the playground were elementary school hobbies for me.

I chased love only wishing it would chase me back.

I thought love was all one needed to feel good, be strong and to take on the world. That when someone loved everything about you that was good, unique and wonderful, that it was enough to make all your faults fade away.

Then I grew up. I got my heart broken a few times and I learned a lot. A lot about myself and my needs, about my faults and about how honestly quirky I am. I also learned that there is more to love than just a quickening pulse and sweaty palms.

Love is not enough to fix the broken. The broken has to want to be fixed for any love given to make an impact. It’s not enough to keep people together. There needs to be a willingness to make it work, to cling together and make it through any storm. Love is not enough to change a person’s thoughts. The mind is powerful and once settled, it can be hard to sway.

Love is only a portion of the whole equation.

Yes, it is the stuff of fairy tales and of romantic stories I believed as a child. And yes, I still believe deep down that love is beautiful and powerful and awesome.

Kinda like Santa Claus, whom I still believe in to this day.

But now I understand how to let it come to me. How to take what I’m given, place it in the ground and let it grow with honesty, tender care, and lots of encouragement. That chasing love is like trying to catch a butterfly and while waiting for it to come to you is tedious, chasing after it will leave you breathless and tired and quite possibly far away from the path you were on.

I’ve also learned not to shut the door so fast at the end of a situation. Second chances may not always be an option I want to give but sometimes, just sometimes, having another go may be what is needed.

I may be older and wiser, but I’m still a child at heart, believing in the beauty of love and wonderment that belongs in a world of make believe. And along with that is now my new found knowledge that love needs attention, room to grow and can’t be rushed. That it can’t bloom on its own without a little help and a little imagination. That time does heal the wounds of the heart.

And that second chances may be just the magic needed to let love blossom when all else fails.