This Christmas Eve, I am taking a little break from wrapping and laughing and family and friends. I have a very important little human to visit. She is six years old, and nestled into her bed. I know her very well.
Because she is me.
I know she never thought she’d get to sleep, her belly full of butterflies and fizzy bubbles.
Santa is on his way, with all of his reindeer.
She knows this is true.
Believes it with all her heart.
I’m going to tip toe into her room, past pink and white striped wallpaper with little ballerinas on it, past the desk that her great-aunt Edith handed down when she died – the one she will later sit at and teach herself to use makeup, and spray too much Sun-In and lemon juice on her dark hair one summer, turning it a tragic shade of orangey-blonde.
I have something to tell her.
I sit on the bed, as gently as I can. I won’t wake her up, but will trust that my voice will enter her dreams, joining the sounds and images of hope and faith attached to the coming Christmas morning.
“Hey, Little Me.” I say, smiling down at her soft hair, pin straight. That’s going to drive us crazy in the coming years.
“I just wanted to stop by to tell you a few things.”
Little Me stirs, and makes a tiny sound. She is wearing cheap satin-y blue pajamas with miniature horses on them. I remember them. They are too small. But Little Me loves horses so much. I know that she tells everyone who will listen that, someday, she is going to be a farmer.
“Shhhhhhh…” I encourage. And Little Me settles with a sigh.
“You know,” I start “I thought I knew what I would want to tell you, if I ever had this chance….
I thought I would warn you about certain things that would happen around us, and to us, in the coming years.
I thought I’d tell you what to do, with all that I know being where I am now, and looking back.
I thought I’d help you avoid as much as you could, so that you wouldn’t have to face the things you will have to face.
I thought I would help you avoid as many tears as I could, and hurting and broken hearts.
But…” I sigh, and then I smile.
“But guess what, kiddo… I am smarter than that. We are smarter.
Here is what I want you to know.
Everything we live with, and through, matters.
All the good stuff, and all the bad.
We have to experience it all.
And we will be okay.
You will be okay.
You are already beginning to know the difference between what is real, what really matters, and what doesn’t.
You will get very good at this, and that is a very good thing.
I want you to know that you are right to believe in the good, and to take the time to find that good…
In those around you.
And in the world.
That is your most special gift.
That is what gives you your Joy.
I want you to believe this, always, with all your heart.
There will be days you will need to believe it for you.
There will be days when you will need to believe it for others.
That’s really the most important thing I can tell you, because I know that all the rest will work itself out. I promise.
Maybe there are two other things.
Real quick? There is no alligator under your bed. You can totally hang your arm or leg over the side of the bed any time you want. Trust me. We still have all our arms and legs.
I’m going to take this chance to tell you something that I made sure to tell my own kids – well, something you will tell your kids one day.
It’s something every child needs to hear, I think, and you never really got to hear it.
You were born as wonderful, and blessed as any other person in this world.
Your dreams are possible.
And wanna know something pretty cool?
Some magic is real.
And no, I’m not joking.
You will figure this all out, I know. But I thought I’d give you a little head start.
I love you, Little Me.” I pause. I don’t want to forget this moment.
“Now I have to go.” I say. And I kiss her little head, and whisper in her ear…
“Yes, you really did just hear sleigh bells.
And reindeer on the roof.
Christmas is here, Little Me.
It’s almost time to wake up to the magic.”
Thanks for readin’.
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