Letter to Santa
I was wondering if I was good this year.
Can I ask you this year can I get a wii or
I could have american girl doll your pick.
I know that I’m asking a lot but maybe
you could give me one of the items.
And I wish that my family members would
get wonderful presents too. if I could make
one wish it would be to help people it would
make me very happy it would be so cool if I
could live with you for one day but I would’nt
want to make you busy and like I said I wanted to
help people well I do I would save up money
then I give it to the poor. so that’s my letter hope you’ve
My niece Emma always wrote a letter to Santa. Every year. She made sure the entire family would get a copy. (I think this is the last letter I received. She typed it on my computer several years ago.) She has slowly and quietly come to a different understanding of Santa, though she has attempted to carry Santa with her a few more years to protect her little sister from learning too soon to stop believing.
Emma turned 11 in March. A few weeks ago I saw her play a volleyball game at her middle school. She showed me around her school. The 6th grade hall. The cafeteria. The library. Her favorite teacher’s room. Her locker. We rode to dinner together, just the two of us, and she turned the radio to her favorite station and began to sing. (We sang together when I knew the song.) She is no longer the little girl who writes letters to Santa.
Seeing her now. Talking with her now. I realize she has grown up. I don’t think she believes in Santa anymore, and that makes me sad. She has reached a point in her life where she understands things differently. Her eyes are a bit more open. She asks tough questions, expects straight answers, and knows fact from fiction. She is smart and she still giggles.
Watching her grow up has lead me to ask a few questions. When do we stop believing in Santa? If Santa is about our ability to dream and to experience wonder, why do those capacities have to fade with age? Does our laughter have to change? Does Life make us inherently “glass half empty” people? Must we lose our beginner’s mind? If I were to write a Letter to Santa today, what would it say? Would ask I for a soul mate? World peace? Cool shoes? I am not sure. There is something beautiful about expecting a world of generosity, goodness, and miracles. Stopping the cyclone of cynicism, fear, and doubt that sometimes swirls in my head seems important if I am to keep Santa alive.
I truly enjoy the relationship I have with Emma now. We talk about books she is reading, books she is writing, her classes, and the latest instrument she is learning. She is an interesting person. I look forward to seeing how our relationship grows in the years ahead. I get to have a front row seat to the wonderful world I pray unfolds for her. I know I will not get a Letter to Santa from Emma this Christmas, but I think we will probably have a wonderful conversation.