Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Hope // Yes, Virginia

Christmas season is in full swing here at the Lil' Dude house. We luckily counted on our fingers the numbers of celebrations we're able to partake in this year- I think six. Christmas six times! Aren't we lucky. Aren't we lucky ... indeed.

We celebrated the past weekend with the Grandparents of the North. My own Mama played Santa for her granddaughter's seventh Christmas (wait, what?) while remarking that when I was a kindergartner, I told my entire class there was no Santa.


The teacher had to involve my parents, of course, and mass hysteria I assume from all her tiny believers. I don't remember the event- which is semi-odd given my propensity for recalling every detail of all my years lived. How did I know at five there was no Santa? And why would I tell others? I wasn't mean-spirited as a child. I don't know. But 29 years later it pissed me off.

I held my breath and crossed my fingers when on the first day of her Advent calendar, the Lil' Dude opened a note from the Christmas Fairies and said, look Mama! You have these same gift tags downstairs! It was a fleeting observation but it still freaked me out. She's six. She's in school- surrounded not only by her classmates, but older, seasoned kids and veterans of Christmas. You know the crap that is slung around on buses and playgrounds and cafeterias. She could actually Google "Is Santa Real?" like I did a few minutes ago. I am not ready for that step in our life. I'm not ready to own up to chewing up carrots and spitting them out on Santa's cookie plate. I'm not ready to admit to sweeping up Reindeer Food from the sidewalk, deck, and driveway. I'm not ready to explain filling Advent calendars, St. Nicholas boots, or Christmas stockings and giving imaginary characters the credit.

I am not ready. I want her to be rooted in hope and belief for every Christmas season she sees. If she chooses one noun to be her favorite her whole life, I want it to be hope. If she tattoos one word on her body, I want it to be hope. Even if she forsakes everything else, make hope what she holds onto.

A few centuries ago, a little girl wrote to a newspaper in New York asking the editor if there indeed was a Santa Claus. The answer, as antiquated as it is now, still rings true.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. There is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Miss Six

At 12:37pm today, you took your very first breaths. You didn't cry. You sneezed; you blinked.

Happy Birthday, baby girl. Today you finally get to be six!

You're all legs and lyrics. Your hair is turning a darker shade of blonde and it delights you. You so badly want to be a brunette like your Mama. You have an astonishing memory and the uncanny ability to say precisely the right thing at the right time. You make everyone around you, better. Horses, music, your stuffies, art, and quality time with your village continue to be your love languages. Kindergarten has made you evolve into this worldly creature full of knowledge, brimming with opinions and explanations. You challenge me. You push me. You amaze me.

While it doesn't seem possible you have been here for six long years already, it seems even more impossible that I was given the greatest gift when you tested those lungs out the very first time, that I was given you. We get along famously. We're simple like that. I treat you like an adult for the most part, well, like your very own person at least and you respect that role, mostly. Sure, we have our epic horn-locking from time to time, because A) we're female B) our lineage and C) it's the mother-daughter relationship cliche. I still need to loosen up when it comes to meals. You're a picky little vegetarian and the aperture of your food lens is constantly decreasing. You're a bit (a big bit) of a hoarder/collector/engineer/inventor. I love to purge, purge, purge, and restore natural order in our home. I casually ask your Dad what he thinks we'll be like in three years, and in seven. He says he doesn't want to know. Challenge accepted.

I no longer cry on December 7ths. Well- maybe when my heart feels like it's going to burst because in the middle of opening gifts, you throw you arms toward Heaven and scream, "This is the best birthday ever!" and I know you mean it because at six, you still unabashedly tell the truth. Lying is still (blissfully) an inability of yours. That makes me cry because it's sweet and pure. I no longer cry at the fear of you growing up. I'll admit I took toddlerhood and preschool years personally. I accept it now, damnit. I welcome it. I cherish it.

And, as ever, some lyrics for you. Perhaps a bit too gritty for my sweet six year old, but you get the gist;

Silver Lining
by Kacey Musgraves

Woke up on the wrong side of rock bottom
Throw a lot of pennies in a well
That done run dry
Light up and smoke 'em if you have 'em
But you just ain't got 'em
Yeah ain't we always looking
For a bluer sky

If you're ever gonna find a silver lining
It's gotta be a cloudy day
It's gotta be a cloudy day 
If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning
You're gonna have to stand in the rain
You're gonna have to stand in the rain

Hoo hoo hoooo 

If lemonade keeps turning into lemons
And you wear your heart on a ripped
Unraveled sleeve
Been run through the wringer
And pushed on to your limit
Say you're just unlucky
But luck ain't what you need

'Cause if you're ever gonna find
A four leaf clover
You gotta get a little dirt on your hands
You gotta get a little dirt on your hands
And if you wanna find a head 
That fits your shoulder
You're gonna have to go to the dance
You're gonna have to go to the dance

If you wanna find the honey
You can't be scared of the bees
And if you wanna see the forest
You're gonna have to look past trees

If you're ever gonna find a silver lining
It's gotta be a cloudy day
It's gotta be a cloudy day
If you wanna fill your bottle up with lightning
You're gonna have to stand in the rain
You're gonna have to stand in the rain

It's an absolute pleasure being your Mama. I could fill an entire college-lined, kitten-covered notebook with the reason that make it true. But I don't need to. Your eyes have seen my liner notes, your soul has breathed their weight, and your heart pumps the density.

Happiest of days to you, Miss Six.
I triple-puffy heart you.
More than Starbucks.
Have a great year. The best yet.

Mama loves.