December 11, 2005
Mr. S. Claus
It was great to see you earlier today, at the Christmas party for the Hospital Kids. You certainly looked chipper! I can only hope that I age as gracefully as you...
Just for the record, I have never stopped believing in you. I'm just a lousy letter-writer, that's all. I have a hard enough time keeping my blog updated. Sitting down to actually pen a letter is nearly more than I can imagine most days.
I know, it's been a long time since I have corresponded with you. In case you have forgotten, the last time I wrote to you, I was 12 years old, and had just gotten my braces. I was a gangly, awkward thing; all arms and legs, and summer-browned skin that was fading fast with only the pale, watery winter sun.
I think, if I remember correctly, that I asked you for a new record player, and a "portable" FM radio. I also wanted some "Barbie stuff" ; that was back when little girls still played with dolls until they started dating.
You left the record player (the radio was still a couple of Christmases away) along with a new shiny black patent-leather trunk to hold my "Barbie stuff" (with little hangers, and little drawers to hold shoes and purses, and I loved it so much. I still smile when I think about it.) and a stack of Trixie Belden books, which I still have to this day. I remember feeling very rich, because I had so many new books at once! My parents, as usual, gave me "practical" gifts - new mittens, warm socks, and a bright yellow pair of snow boots with red plaid flannel lining.
We opened presents while Daddy's big reel-to-reel tape player played all of the Christmas music that he had spent *hours* recording. All of the Firestone Christmas Albums that we had purchased every year - making the faithful trek after Thanksgiving to the tire store that smelled all rubbery to purchase the latest album. (I still have them all, Santa - even though I no longer have a record player to play them on...) Daddy tape-recorded all of the records, and you could listen to music for hours before he had to switch the reels. My mom made an insane amount of Chex Party Mix, and we put it into Mason jars, and tied bows around them, and left them on neighbors doorsteps. We took homemade cookies to the old folks home, and we left a plate of cupcakes for the nurses there.
It was the first Christmas that I got to help Mama with the Christmas cards. It was the year that I was Mary in the Nativity play at Church. It was the only Christmas I remember in my childhood when it snowed on Christmas Eve as we were walking home from Midnight Mass. Even then, I was struck by the perfect silence, and the stillness of the world as it slowly turned marshmallowy white.
It was the last Christmas in the little Craftsman cottage that had been my grandparents home; the next spring my parents began the process of gutting it, and adding on two wings that tripled the amount of space we had. It was the last year I wrote you a letter.
Fast-forward thirty+ years. My own little girl will be twelve soon. We have our own Christmas customs and traditions now; some are borrowed from my childhood, others come from The Wrench and his family. A few are of our own creation; together they form this midwinter celebration of life and rebirth and hope that we all engage in every year.
The Twinkie is a child of the light. She shines from the center of her soul, all the way through; she is pure of heart, and loving by nature. She gives to others without reservation or hesitation. She is such a good child, so special. She asks for very little day-to-day; there are no temper tantrums, no endless begging.
Her Christmas list this year is simple: All she wants for Christmas this year is for the pain to go away.
Santa, I will give it all up - everything - if you can just fill this one wish for her. I don't care if I have to drive the same "old" rattletrap minivan for the rest of my life. I don't care if I ever buy a new stitch of clothing again. I don't want diamonds, or furs, or little crystal figurines perched on shelves. I don't care about money or fame or travel. You can have it all. Just make Twinks not hurt. If someone must, I will gladly bear her pain - all of it - for the rest of her life. Just make Twinks not hurt.
So I'm adding my request this year to her whispered plea earlier today. I know you heard her; the look in your eyes echoed the feeling in my heart. I know it was hard for you to hear that - you wanted for her to ask for a new toy or game. Maybe make some silly request about meeting Jesse McCartney or Hilary Duff. Something *easy*, like a puppy, or a kitten.
I can't bear what the pain is doing to our bright little Twinkle. It is wearing her down, dimming the light in her eyes, and leaving her pale, washed out, wan. She cries unconsolably now: There is nothing that The Wrench and I can do to ease her suffering. We stand by helpless to remove her from the steely, unrelenting ache that washes down her legs, and leaves her feeling weak and exhausted.
She is too far gone to make the trip to Hospital City. In her current condition, there is no way to get her there without causing even more discomfort than she has now. I can't bring myself to inflict even more upon this child by asking her to travel 400 miles one way to see the doctor, and so tomorrow, Monday afternoon, we will go to the local pediatrician.
This doctor talks of rhuematologists, and endocrinologists. She says we need a "complete workup" and warns me to prepare The Twinkie for "testing". She offers no real hope, only another prescription to try and push back the pain while allowing Twinks to try and function at school.
I'm terrified, Santa. I want to do something, anything, but in reality can do nothing. I hold her for hours on end, rocking her, willing the pain to go away. I dry her tears, and try to distract her - to bring a smile to that little face that I love so much. I wait and pray for a miracle of some kind, any kind.
I know that you aren't a physician in the traditional sense. But you carry a potent kind of mojo. You hold a magic in your heart that can work miracles, if only a child can believe. You are blessed with the gift of faith and trust that only a child can give; you heal with love and selflessness as only a Saint can.
You are loveliest personification of God ever bestowed upon us; a benevolent father who appears and disappears in the wink of an eye, leaving bounty in his wake. You welcome all who come to you with open arms, and the faithful are rewarded in the cold, clear dawn of Christmas morning with gifts - to celebrate the birth of a child who came to save us from our own greed and selfishness.
And now, selfishly, I am asking you to give another gift. I am asking you to give this sweet child the gift of freedom from her pain. The gift of peaceful slumber, of days full of sunlight and joy, without the terrible black shadow that the pain casts over everything she tries to do.
Just this one gift, Santa, is all I ask.