The following is a Flashback Friday post, reaching back to Christmas morning 4 years ago.
At 5:56 a.m. on Christmas morning, she was at the edge of my bed. My 8 year-old was whispering, but her excitement could hardly be contained.
“Mom… Mom…. Mom!”
I don’t know how many times she called my name before I was able to respond. I’m that mom who leaves wrapping presents to the last possible moment, which is typically 11:57 on Christmas Eve. I was NOT ready to face the day.
“Santa wrote back, Mom! He wrote back!”
I finally managed to pry my tired eyes open and see the joy in her little face.
Two days earlier, after a screaming match with her older sister, she locked herself in her room. She let me in when she was ready to talk and showed me her note to Santa. She believed that magic was needed to solve her problem. Santa was her best chance. Teary-eyed, she made her way downstairs to the living room. She carefully pinned the note to her snowman stocking over the fireplace. She looked to me and asked, “Santa will see it when he brings our gifts, right Mom?”
Her plea was simple and direct:
Dear Santa, My Christmas wish is to not fight anymore. If it is possible, write here: ______________________________
Of all the obstacles my children have faced while learning to navigate the world, living peacefully with each other is still their greatest challenge. They often enjoy being together, but there are moments when compromises and kindness escape them and anger takes control.
It’s most difficult for my quick tempered 8 year-old. She’s stuck in the middle and finds herself at odds with both her older and younger sisters. She feels it from all sides and she wants it to change. So do I.
Before bed on Christmas Eve, she sprinkled Magical Reindeer Food (oats and glitter) all over the front yard, then checked her note one final time.
“Do you think he’ll write back?”
“I bet he will,” I told her and hugged her close. I would love to have Santa swoop in and fix everything. I’ve studied shelves full of books on easing sibling rivalry, as if they held a magical key to our lasting happiness. Still, my kids struggled. And even with all this expert knowledge dancing in my head, I wasn’t sure how Santa should respond to her Christmas wish. Bring it Santa, please!
I tucked her into her sleeping bag on her bedroom floor, next to her little sister. They wanted to wake-up extra early to sneak downstairs before anyone else woke up, and maybe catch a glimpse of Santa leaving.
They slept soundly while I wrapped presents, drank some wine, and scrambled to eat the cookies left by the fireplace before my husband. Mostly, I wondered how Santa would manage to grant her wish.
At 5:56 on this Christmas morning, her stocking full of gifts and the presents under the tree went unnoticed. Through my sleepiness, I saw my daughter’s face beaming.
“Mom, Santa said that if I am kind and patient with my sisters that he will do his best to make my wish come true. And Rudolph said thanks for the snacks! He liked the snacks, Mom!”
It was beautiful moment. Living peacefully with her sisters was all she truly wanted for Christmas. And although Santa clearly didn’t make any promises that all would be well for ever and ever, he did leave a little something magical in my daughter’s heart.
He’s kind of brilliant, awe-inspiring and touch hung over.