Cherish these moments


I wasn’t ready for Christmas this year. The outdoor decorations didn’t get done the day after Thanksgiving and therefore did not get done at all save for throwing a wreath on the front door. A week ago we managed to get a tree and string some lights but it sat undecorated until 3 days before Christmas. I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling well and then it turned into pneumonia. I was happy enough to wrap myself in a blanket and read away the hours I should have spent on doing Christmas prep.

I was feeling a little down but not able to put my finger on precisely why. Maybe it was the unseasonably warm weather or that Liam mentioned over the summer he didn’t think Santa was real. Maybe I’m missing my mom more this year than last. Maybe I’ll never feel so joyful about Christmas again. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I was feeling pretty down that Liam didn’t believe any more and even though he hadn’t mentioned it again since that one time in the summer, I went through the season wondering how his “knowing” would change things. Our elf didn’t come either since I’m pretty sure he has a rule about waiting until we were all decorated before making an appearance.

Sure enough, on Saturday morning, there he was hanging off a branch, among the ornaments, lights and candy canes. No one mentioned the elf’s return so I said to Liam over lunch that I thought I saw that “Elfie” was back. His eyes lit up and he ran to the living room. “Mom, he’s on the tree!” We went on with our day and even though we were having our annual Christmas Eve gathering at our house the next day, I didn’t make an attempt at frenzied cleaning or menu planning which is very unusual for me. I think I was just planning on mailing in this Christmas and hoping for better spirit next year.

Jim and I fell asleep fairly early Saturday night and I got up to get water at about 11:00 p.m. and discovered Liam still up. I told him to go to bed immediately and then went back to sleep myself – the water forgotten. I woke a couple hours later, thirsty and made my way to the kitchen for it. The light in the dining room was dim and I could see a piece of paper folded up on the corner. I had managed to do some cleaning before bed and wondered what I’d left there.

I picked it up and brought it to the kitchen and turned on the light. The outside read: To Santa and I carefully unfolded it to see what was written inside. My heart picked up it’s pace as I realized my little guy, while questioning Santa’s existence, was not ready to let him go yet. My heart grew three sizes in the minute it took me to read Liam’s “request” of Santa. He listed out his wants and was quite clear with the big man that he didn’t really need any of these things. His needs were what brought tears streaming down my cheeks. His last line with the word need underlined three times was this:

“I need the following: family, happiness, respect, kind and grateful for that I got any gifts.”

I glanced back up at his wants and realized I hadn’t gotten him anything from this list and I panicked and wondered how I was going to pull it off. I had already bought plenty of gifts, but I wanted him to experience the magic and decided there were a couple of items I could find for under the tree the next morning. The letter gave me that burst of holiday magic I had been missing this season.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I know I’ll cherish this memory for years to come.


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