Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Gift of Magic

Dear Santa,
Rumor has it that you're magic. Being a rather magical person myself, I'll buy it. I'm not going to bring my kids to sit on your lap, though, because I'm going to keep all that lap-sitting to myself and I'm trying to teach them boundaries with strangers. Because seriously, if it were any other time of year, would parents line up for hours and pay for their kids to sit on a random sweaty man's lap? I think the kids who scream demonstrate a remarkable amount of sense for their young years. But I digress.

I don't have my kids make lists of things they want to get, so you won't be hearing from them. They do make lists of things they want to give, though. Surely you can forgive them for taking away some of your business. One less chimney, eh? Besides, our chimney is actually a rather narrow stovepipe and our roof has a steep pitch to it. There will undoubtedly be a roaring fire in the stove anyway and I don't want the scent of singed red polyester fur and beard hair to add to the other odors in my house. I only just recently got the fish smell out of my house from the unfortunate Homemade Fish and Chips Incident.

I do have a few requests, though, since you're magic and all. You won't even have to drop them off at my house on Christmas Eve. In fact, I'd rather you didn't because I will be busy wrapping a few gifts and putting them under the tree for my kids, not because they've been good, but because I love them and presents are fun. Because, let's face it, even the best of us is naughty from time to time and it's a great big burden for such small shoulders to feel like they have to earn tokens of my affection. Yup. My affection, not yours. I'm getting off track again. My requests.

When I am old, I don't want to wear purple. Or a big red hat. Well, maybe a big red hat, but I'll wear that now that I am young, too. No, by the time I am old - so far in the future - surely technology will have advanced enough to grant me this wish. Just in case it isn't, though, I'll lodge my request with you now. When I am old, I want to be one of those old men who sits on front porches. You must have seen them. The ones with the faces like the blossom end of an apple, a gimme cap and bib overalls - which I will most definitely refer to as "dungarees". I want to spend the end of my days watching the world come and go around me, telling ridiculous jokes and long stories, handing out nickels and commenting on the weather. I'd also like to believably be able to say things like: "Sarsparilly" and "If I had my druthers..." with a little bit of denture whistle in my aspirated consonants. And I want to do it in dungarees. You have some time to work on that one, though.

More immediately, I would like for you to leave a note for the folks who leave you cookies and let them know that they, too, are magic. That it is they, not you, who make this place a wonderland of mystery and discovery. You might also want to mention to them that they should stand up and take credit for this magic, because you might not know this being all put away on moth balls on the North Pole for 10 months out of the year, but that magic everyone attributes to you? It's theirs and it happens all year long. Every single day of the year, people all over the world are working this magic by thriving, surviving, overcoming insurmountable odds, reaching out quietly to others, doing their work well, loving each other, standing up, smiling, giving up their seats, holding hands, holding doors, planting flowers, laughing, singing, and just doing all the things that people do to make it through the day. Even heartbreak is a kind of magic. Fireflies alone are proof that you don't have the market cornered on magic.

I know that some people need you as that reminder, and that's OK with me, because that's part of what makes them magical. But as long as you're reminding them, please remind them that there's no season for being good or giving or nice or jolly. (In fact, I think some of those especially sticky days in the dead of summer could use a little something extra from you.) I think you could be instrumental in lifting all of our collective spirits and it might solve a lot of larger problems if you would just leave this little note for all the boys and girls of all ages that you visit:

You are magic, you are joy, you are peace, you are good will. Choose it, embrace it, live it.

And then if you could get to work on the gimme cap and dungarees thing, that would be peachy.

Respectfully,
Tangled Up in Lou

14 comments:

  1. You are magic, you are joy, you are peace, you are good will. Choose it, embrace it, live it.

    I don't know if I've ever loved you more than I do right this very second. I'm sorry, is that awkward? Coming across the miles and the interwebz? Well, sorry. But I do. This is so awesome. I love the letter to Santa, the list of magic that happens every day. This reminds me so much of a line in a book I read recently.

    You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

    And you? You are. All of the above. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, for humbling me and reminding me of the good, the love, the awesome.

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  2. Hey there Miss magic...that was beautiful. I thought of the same line from Help as M did, have you read it yet?

    You have echoed so much of what this mother's heart has been bursting with for years. Well said. it needs to be printed and circulated on Pinterest.

    This comes on a good night for me, too, because I see my older children tomorrow then extended family and have that ingrained anxiety about "are my gifts enough for them?" They can never be a good measurement of my love.

    But after reading this, my heart is calm. My gifts aren't supposed to measure my love.

    This is a beautiful time, yours are beautiful words, thanks so much for daring to share this.

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  3. When I was a college student we did an eXperiment in organic chemistry lab where we made a luciferin compound, like the bioluminescence of fireflies. I don't remember the detail, but I might possibly have the old book somewhere. There is an article in wikipedia.

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  4. The burden of having to earn affection, and GG's observation that "My gifts are not supposed to measure my love," are the two interchangeable thoughts that I am hauling away from your site this morning, my little shopping cart quite challenged by the task. I'll be back with an empty cart for more.

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  5. really love this. Especially the whole idea of how crazy it is to put a kid on Santa's lap! Thanks for the perspective!

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  6. Damn! You made tears come to my eyes and, let me tell you, that is something I fight. I don't cry, she says with an edge in her cracking voice. Too tough for that. Right.
    "Every single day of the year, people all over the world are working this magic by thriving, surviving, overcoming insurmountable odds, reaching out quietly to others, doing their work well, loving each other, standing up, smiling, giving up their seats, holding hands, holding doors, planting flowers, laughing, singing, and just doing all the things that people do to make it through the day. Even heartbreak is a kind of magic. " this is too much goodness - I want to frame this so I remember it always. Thank you so much. YOU ARE MAGIC.

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  7. I feel like anything I say will take away from this beautiful post. So, I'll just say, "Thank you."

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  8. Thank you for this post. And I agree with everyone above- please keep spreading your magic through your writing!

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  9. Such a powerful concept and your kids are blessed to be growing up in a home where they will doubtlessly hear and be shown that much-needed message in so many ways.

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  10. Thank you all! I just got back from a very long road trip to find all of this wonderful commenty love! The wonders of auto-post. I really hesitated before publishing this, but thanks to all of you who hear my odd little voice and appreciate it! It is all of you who are magic.

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  11. I love your perspective, and I love the way your posts make me think! I also never have the intellectual wherewithal at the hour I read them to make great responses, but know that I am reading, and I think you are very talented, and very special.

    We have always been a "millions of presents" sort of family, from when I was little. My mother went insane with gifts at Christmas, and with her help I do too, although I beg her to scale back every year. The challenge is now how to step back from all of this a little without leaving a funny mark in my children's memories of "the year when we got half as many gifts as we used to". Small problem, but something I need to consider.

    Happy holidays!

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  12. I'm practicing saying sarsparilly without laughing from now on.

    You know how I feel about Santa. This dug to the depths of what I tried, and failed, to say.

    Thank you.

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  13. I finally got around to reading this. I love it. It's so beautiful and lovely and it strikes me, in every way, that while I grew up with a different Santa, on whose lap I never sat and to whom I never wrote a list of lame requests, you have articulated here all the reasons that I have called myself an atheist.

    I don't want, or want my kids to care about GETTING into Heaven. Instead, I want them to GIVE Love. I want them to learn to thank those whose physical hands and hearts actually serve them, rather than someone they imagine when they close their eyes. I want them to see magic as inherent and immanent, as not belonging to special people, but to everyone. And I want them to know they are inherently loved, and are not judged from on high, but only by those around them for what they do.

    It's funny how, depending on our life experiences, some of us reject Santa and others God, and some of us neither or both of them together. It's these differences which continue to fascinate me. Somewhere in the complexity and apparent argument lies the deepest kind of truth. Such a beautiful piece.

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