Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Yes, Colleen. There is a Santa Claus.

Colleen is 11 and had been hearing some crud about how some people don't believe in Santa for quite a while. I would say to her what my mother always said to me, "Santa is the Spirit of Christmas". It is a true statement and moves the child along who still has hope in their hearts. Unfortunately, on Friday, a substitute teacher told her plainly that there wasn't a Santa Claus, and a very sad and agitated Colleen came home to me.

As I leaned against her, side by side on a couch, and held her cheek against my shoulder, I explained that though a man doesn't come down the chimney and that I'm the one that bring her her gifts, Santa is the feeling I get when she opens her presents. Santa is in the excitement she and her siblings share all December. Santa is in the cutting down of our tree and is laced in every memory brought back by an ornament or Christmas decoration.

"Christmas is all heart, Colleen. And that is where Santa lives. He is real."

Santa is in the golden harp ornament my best friend, Stephanie, gave me the year that so many of my own ornaments smashed after my tree fell.

Santa is in the creche that Lisa bought for my kids a few years ago when I told her that one of them was curious about the the Christ in Christmas.

Santa is in Rebecca inviting us over to watch her family light the Menorah.

And then, yesterday, when a co-worker, Robin, heard about the spilled beans, she left a bell from the Polar Express in my mailbox for me to give Colleen. I ran up to her classroom and, with warning that I was about to do it, hugged her for understanding this sadness, for thinking of us, and for expressing the true meaning of the season. We teared up talking to one another about keeping dreams alive for our children. I said to her "THIS is Santa Claus!", gesturing to our emotion and to her kindness.

This weekend when I said it was time to formalize our letters to Santa, Colleen lead the charge. She turns on the Christmas tree. She is watching every streamable christmas show and movie. She came to me, pained, not being able to choose which present to get her sister and could she please give both. "It is the spirit of Christmas, right?" she twinkled at me. She has lost nothing more than an image of Christmas, keeping the meaning alive and thriving.

I always feel love and appreciation for those around me who hold me up, warm me, and care for me and my family. It is just that this time of year that when I feel it, it feels like a belly that's a bowl full of jelly, a twinkle in the eye, and a rosy cheeked laugh.
Santa is real.
And now we have the sweetest 11 year old elf helping to keep our spirit and love of the holiday alive.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dear New Homeowner of the Red House

Dear New Home Owner of the Red House,

Though I can't ever picture moving out of this house, I know one day it will happen. As I sat here in the quiet and messy house, I felt a little resigned to the fact that when we move, you guys are going to find nerf bullets and hair elastics. No matter what I do, I will never have packed every lite brite peg. You will encounter it as you stumble across more storage space. Every hairball will not have been found. There will be tinsel and pine needles in a corner or embedded into a carpet. I'm sorry. We never have even had tinsel in this home, but I did growing up and that tinsel found its way into the ornaments I took when I cleaned out my parents' house. (Which probably wasn't completely cleared either)

There will be a matchbox car in one of the heating vents. There will be a Barbie shoe in a drawer. We will do the annoying thing of leaving paint cans in the basement for you to do touch-ups, and maybe a tarp or a tool in the garage because when we move, we won't be tarpin' and toolin', we hope. We won't be doing a darn thing.

I'm sorry about those two floor boards we never replaced and we had meant to change the trim color a long time ago, but.....weekends got away from us. There were nerf fights and competition hair. That nail polish stain that won't come out came with a really wonderful sister afternoon in the blue room. That loose bannister happened during a Saturday night fashion show we had to watch our kids put on. We sometimes cleaned the webs from outside the windows, but the suckers kept coming back. We sometimes raked and trimmed and pruned. We sometimes let the snow just cover it all until Spring inspiration hit again.

We have no idea what you will come across in the woods. Knowing that our children became teens in this house, I don't want to take any guesses. I know some wrecked club house will be out there. I won't venture more of a guess beyond one of their water bottles with a cute design worn off will be somewhere in the vicinity.

The Zen porch will hopefully leave its Zen-ness for you. I hope any heaviness has lifted from it and some creativity remains. I hope we cleared out all of the cat toy mice so you don't get a fright in the wood closet. I hope the warmth of the kitchen-the feeling of warmth since we probably never got around to new and better windows-gets left behind, too. Everyone was in there all the time. And make sure you get on that outdoor porch- we were so bad about using that space every minute of every warm day.

Sorry for the few grains of rice in the cupboard. Enjoy the generator we leave you.
Someone play that piano. Invite someone to a game of pool.
This house is meant to be filled with family and friends.
It is very tolerant of a little neglect, and does a great job of hiding clutter.
It should make you feel so completely at home.
But you already knew that. You chose it for just that reason.
Don't worry about forwarding us anything we may have left behind.
All we need stays with us.

All the best.