Monday, December 11, 2006

My Sappy Holiday Spirit

I've been sitting here for the past few days listening to Christmas music--the classical Christmas channel on XM radio and one of the local channels in the car. Hannah insisted and I was happy to oblige. After all, one can only listen to Talk of the Nation so many days in a row before one's kids loses it.

Anyway, back to the music. It reminds me both just how much I dreaded the holidays when I was a kid and how much I look forward to them now. I think I've mentioned before that I came without filters installed: I have a difficult time blocking out noise, other people's emotions, the weave of a particular fabric, and so on. I may have also mentioned that I have five brothers, two sisters--all of whom I love dearly--and, shall we say, emotionally distant parents. None of which make for a calm, relaxing holiday season. Every year, without fail, I ended up with a heavy cold over winter break. Coincidence? I think not.

But now. Now I get to experience the season all over through Hannah and Charlotte. We go decorated-house hunting after school. We've hung a wreath on the front door and another over the fireplace. The tree is up and decorated--except for the lower 1/4 which Charlotte keeps stripping--and Hannah has been revising her list for Santa since her birthday in October. I am resisting the urge to dress the house from top to bottom in pine garlands and white lights. But I am baking batches of gingerbread cookies so the house always smells holiday-ish.

But I never know what to say when people ask "What would you like for Christmas?" There's nothing I really need--except the occasional babysitter and a night out--and the things I might want are entirely impractical. Nice clothes? They don't mix well with paint, playdoh and markers. Books? I adore them, but rarely have time to read anymore. Sticktoitiveness? Sure, but does that come in a bottle yet? And the things I really want can't be gifted: I want Charlotte to lose the stiffness in her body and be able to dance the way she so clearly wants to. I want Hannah to keep being the wonderful little person and big sister that she is. I don't want either of them to grow up too fast. And I want them to always know that I love them more than I ever could have imagined.

So whadda you think, Santa Baby? Can you help me out?

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