I know you don’t get many letters from people my age, but I am writing to you because I find myself facing Christmas this year without very much to believe in.
I can accept the fact that there won’t be many presents under the tree for me. I’m an adult; I can handle it. The Big Guy and I have agreed that it would be foolish to exchange gifts this year, and I’ve always taught my kids to spend their money on each other rather than on me. With Mom and Dad and The Girls gone, that leaves only my sister, with whom I have also agreed not to exchange gifts.
Christmas isn’t all about the presents. But Santa, I still have a wish list of everything that I want this year.
I want to sign the papers on my little house and get started on the next part of my life. It’s just a worn-out manufactured home on less than an acre of land, but it’s in my price range and it’s got enough bedrooms for my kids and me. And it’s got closets, something I have lived without for the past eighteen years.
Ah, closets! I could spend weeks extolling the virtue of having places to put things away! But I digress.
I want an easy winter this first year on my own. It has been too easy to sit back and let the Big Guy do all of the driving in bad weather. He says he will still do more than his fair share of it now, but I don’t want to be that ex-wife. I want to get along with him and be nice to each other despite our divorce, but I don’t want to need him.
I will not be pathetic. I will not need a man who doesn’t need me.
Santa, I want a good night’s sleep. I’ll settle for five or six good hours, if that’s all I can get. I want to drift off gently instead of tossing and turning until I pass out from sheer exhaustion, and I want to stop waking up at two, at three, at four-thirty, staring at the ceiling and listening to thoughts and memories chase each other around my mind until I give up and make an extra-strong pot of coffee to get me through the day. Coffee that I used to divide between his white Chemtreat mug and my seagull mug every morning, but that I now pour into just mine.
Santa, I want my kids to like the Upgrade, and I beg you to see to it that she loves them, treats them well. But please, please, see to it that they don’t love her more. Give me something, some way to compete in their eyes. She is younger, prettier, happier with this new love in her life.
Please, Santa, give my children the gift of understanding that their boring, lonely old mother has always done her best.
And someday, Santa, I want to love someone again. Maybe not this year, maybe not for several years. But please, let me know that I haven’t lost the ability to love, that my heart is going to be good for something besides just pumping blood back and forth in my chest.
I don’t need roses or candlelight dinners. I just want someone who will say “I love you” first instead of always “love you, too”. Someone who will sit with me on the couch and watch stupid TV shows together or hold my hand in public, who doesn’t care what people think if he kisses me right in the middle of the park during the town Christmas Festival. Someone who cares enough to remember the stupid, tiny details about me, like my favorite color or the fact that I hate apple pie.
Someone who will still think I am beautiful, even after eighteen years – and who will say so once in a while.
Someone who won’t go looking for an Upgrade, because I will be enough for him.
Someone who will love me as much as I love him.
All I want for Christmas, Santa, is a little bit of Hope that everything is going to be okay, and that life is going to get better.