Remember That We ...
Today our 2nd grade choir gave a performance at the local mall. We sang our hearts out, at least I did, but then Curtis is pretty shy and Viola likes to show off in the front row with her really cool dance moves and Ben, well Ben is just Ben, making faces at the camera, and Natalie, well Natalie just needs some encouragement, because her voice, her voice is like that of an angel, it is so soft and pure, but I am not sure people notice her voice. I am not sure if Natalie’s family notices her. I hug Natalie everyday. Partly because she is my best friend, and partly because Natalie just needs hugs.
There we stood in our Santa hats. Our teacher made us wear them. She said sometimes a prop or two helps steady one’s nerves. I am not sure what she meant by that, but it did help me imagine I was someone else, a real performer, on a Broadway stage, and I belted out “Must Be Santa” as if I was Ethel Merman and I think the crowd loved me, because they applauded wildly and asked for more. Well, actually, some parents applauded and a few of the people in the mall stopped their rushing around and paused long enough to leave a smile in their wake, as they hurried by. Curtis said I sang off key, but I know he didn’t mean it. He just felt bad that he couldn’t smile, ‘cause his front tooth fell out on the playground this morning.
I want you to know that I looked EVERYWHERE for you. I expected to see you in a chair surrounded by elves in the middle of a gingerbread house lined with candy canes. I know, I just know that I have a memory of you sitting and waiting for me. I was smaller then. Smaller than I am now. In fact, I think my parents might have carried me up and placed me in your lap, because you scared me a little that first time. Your beard so white, your cheeks so rosy, your laughter so hardy and mellow that your belly shook like jello.
Yes, yes I do remember.
I sat on your lap. My parents were jumping all around scaring the poor little elves, taking pictures and yelling at me to smile. But, you, you dear Santa, you ignored them. You leaned down so close I could feel your whiskers tickle my chin. I heard you. I did.
I heard you ask me most sincerely, what I wanted for Christmas.
This, I said.
I just want a moment with you Santa.
To let you know...
That I believe.
I know that you believe in the Wise Men, even though I hear my family talking about a bunch of Wise Guys who think they know EVERYTHING and that EVERYONE should think exactly the way THEY do.
I know that you believe in the three Kings, the Magi, even though I hear people arguing that there should never be Kings. That we should all be the same. Nobody better than the next. I mean, I don’t understand that ‘cause I am terrible at soccer and Cleo is amazing. But, I am terrific at Geography and she can’t name the seven continents. Does that make one of us better than the other, or merely, different in our abilities? I worry, Santa, is it such a bad thing if we like different things? Believe differently? Is there not a place for each of us to be the person we long to be?
Oh Santa, I am only in the second grade, but, it sure seems as though life in Kindergarten was so much easier. We all sat on the rug, or tried to, and we just wanted to learn, to grow up, to read and write and of course, have a mid morning snack and a little nap.
I know my parents need a nap, because my father falls asleep in front of the TV, and my mother does the laundry at ten o’clock at night and looks like she could fall asleep in the piles of clothes at her feet.
Oh, and Santa, dear Santa, the star. I know you believe in the star, because everyone needs a GPS. A navigation system. A way to get from Here to There. Especially you Santa. You have so many stops along the way, so many deliveries to make. Your reindeer trust in you. They trust in your agility, your fleetness of foot, the purpose of your journey. The reindeer, Dancer and Prancer and all the rest, know most assuredly, like UPS, you have places to go and people to see and you MUST BE ON TIME.
Oh Santa, I am only in the second grade, but I stand here watching people rush by, packages in hand, and they do not look happy. They look as though they would like to stop, to peek in at us, to pause a moment to hear our song. Maybe to even sing along. To join the chorus. To raise their voices in the joy and the celebration we all know is coming. Knocking on our door.
I wish for them Santa. I wish that they will be like me, young at heart, and find a way to remember what it is like to be full of joy. To make gingerbread houses out of cake and gumdrops. To hang stockings above the fireplace. To put cookies on a plate and to snuggle under the sheets, one eye open to dare a peek. To be a sneak. To see YOU.
Because, dear Santa, I know with all my heart, that you see THEM.
That you see them, love them, and long to whisper in their ears...
I do, Santa, I do...believe in you.
For you are the gift to all of the children all over the world, who go to sleep hungry or full, blessed or in need.
I know dear Santa, that you are listening to our song.
One voice, one song, one life...
...the children of the world know that if we believe, deeply, truly and with all of our hearts, that you will come and bring us peace.
And that in each of us, the bigger folks too, the light on the horizon, the star that guides you to our homes, is waiting to shine...
If we only believe in each other.
I love you Santa. I really really do. And so does Ben and Cleo and Amy and Andy. Bella and Simon and Peter. Sonja and Inez and Dylan.
I am going home tonight, dear Santa, and after I memorize the names of all the oceans, I am going to write to you at the North Pole. Afterwards, clad in my favorite flannel footie pajamas I will crawl into my bed and wish for your gift of love in every child’s stocking...
Please, Dear Santa, Visit the Child In All Of Us...
Because Dear Santa...
All of our lives matter...
Whether we can sing on key or not.
Yours most sincerely,