To my First Born (on the Last night you don’t believe in Santa)

My Darling Dubious Firstborn,

You may have figured out that Santa is not watching you. But I am. I’ve had my eye on you since you first caught sight of the stockings sticking out of one of the boxes we hauled down from the attic; skeptically surveying them as we set them by the mantle.

I saw you at the Christmas parade, steely and removed in your chair, never once allowing a smile or look of amazement to cross your face. You have uncovered the secrets of this game, and you’re not about to play along for One. More. Minute. You’ve not come right out and said it, but I, my dear, can feel it. The jig is up.

While it’s heartbreaking in many ways to see you cross the threshold into the realm of the non-believers; I’m comforted remembering our Christmases together.

Nine years chock-full o’ Christmas magic. We did not happen upon this place without intention. No, our journey has been full of purpose and tradition. Hopeful letters written, red-velvety laps sat in, cookies carefully decorated and placed by fireplaces, carrots divided amongst nine little buckets on lawns—reward for the long journey to your rooftop, and nine wondrous Christmas Eve’s with dreamy wishes swirling through your sleepy head (half listening for the sound of faint bells and click-clack hooves overhead)—experiences marking the years we’ve traveled to get here.

To your 10th Christmas; where you don’t hear the bell anymore.

Though I’m fighting the lump of nostalgia that keeps creeping into my throat, I’ve known it was coming. There have been signs. Three times last month I found Tangerine, your beloved stuffed orangutan, on the foot of your bed, instead of cozied up by your pillow.

And there was no asking about elves this year. Usually, you can’t wait for your elf to arrive and begin his month-long reign of all things silly, in various locations throughout the house.

But not this year.

The first morning your prized elf showed up with a cheeky grin and an acrobatic stance on the advent calendar, you didn’t even break stride or acknowledge he was there. Ignoring his twinkling expression completely, you reached deadpanned past him to retrieve your backpack and jacket, a signal that you wanted to head out the door – to fourth grade – where you’ve grown into a big kid, in what feels like a minute.

You’re growing up so fast, and I’ve never wanted to put you on pause. Every year brings a new version of you, and I’ve loved them all. But with each new rendering, I’m bidding farewell to a younger, more innocent boy. So if I stare at you longer than usual, or squeeze you extra tight, it’s because I am memorizing the you, you are now; before I say goodbye.

I’ve done this in a million invisible ways and tiny moments over the years—said goodbye to all the little yous.

Like the first time you ran off enthusiastically through the door to your preschool class, not turning back for a last kiss or hug.

Or the time you learned to put your shoes on by yourself and never needed me to strap or tie them for you again.

The first time I let go of your two wheel bike and you didn’t wobble or fall, but instead confidently rode off on the path, shouting out, “I’m doing it myself!” over and over in surprise.

When you figured out you preferred showers over baths, never sinking into bubbles or diving underwater with rubber duckies again; me on the side of the tub carefully rinsing the shampoo from your shiny, soft, little-boy-curls.

Or when you told me not to buy you snug fitting pajamas anymore, especially with things like Santa or reindeer on them. Snarky sayings or baseballs are fine—but no snowmen!

And just last year, you said, “Mom, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I don’t really want you to read to me before bed anymore. I just prefer to read to myself. I hope that’s OK?” (And of course it was, is okay, but I still had to take a minute and wash some dishes so you wouldn’t see me shed a few tears.)

You’re doing what you are supposed to do. Growing up. Every time you change and let a part of yourself go, it makes room for something new and wonderful to bloom.

But I know that this moment, this reluctant last year with Santa, is the gateway to a letting go of all the magical experiences that will now be relegated to a younger you. We are leaving the place of Easter eggs, tooth fairies, and leprechauns. I know that we’re turning a corner on your childhood and never coming back here again.

But with great knowledge comes great responsibility, and you my dear are now a magic-keeper for your little brother, and maybe your one-day children. You don’t know this yet, but you will get to visit this place again; through different eyes, but no less full of wonder. As I have with you.

Watching you watch Christmas unfold, through the eyes of a skeptical 9-year-old, is taking its toll on me. But I can’t help hoping that somewhere under your aloof exterior is a smaller, skinnier, more bouncy version of yourself, who will serve as your memory keeper.

A placeholder to a time in your life, when you left cookies for a man you believed flew all the way around the world just to grant your most important wishes. When you wrote heartfelt letters to a bearded stranger in a red coat to bring your “petrified baby dragon” to life.

When you darted down the stairs out of breath to survey the scene under the tree at the crack of dawn on Christmas morning, and could barely get the words out fast enough to explain your joy. When exuberance and wonder filled you up, every December.

I hope that one day, when you’re tucking in your own child on Christmas Eve, or stringing lights on a tree with a loved one, that you are reminded of the wide-eyed, younger you, bundled up in snug, snowman pjs, looking into a starry night sky, waiting for any sign of Santa.

I love you with all my heart, all of the yous I’ve met so far, and all of the versions yet to come.

Merry Christmas Always,

Mom

P.S. I’ll wait for you to tell me, when you are ready, that you don’t believe. I’m honored to continue this journey with you, even if Santa will not be coming with us.

Leaving an Puppy place without a companion is like leaving your Heart💔

Went on a mission to find a puppy. My Beagle passed about 5 years ago, I wanted so much to bring a new family member home today. They wanted $4,000.00 for a mixed breed. Honestly, how do they get away with this? #RESCUE-PETS #puppy-love, no rescue places near me. They inspire and provided an afternoon of snuggles and love while I was there. I am grateful🐶

~ Happy Friday everyone ~

~My Beloved Childhood Home ~

As we approach the Holiday’s, my wish for you is that you take a moment and look around and be grateful for all you have. It may be that you are feeling not grateful this time of years. The is normal, everyone gets overwhelmed at times. Just remember to breath and take a break from it all. Find some way that allows you to self-love. A cup of hot chocolate, and people watching, a delish hot soapy bath, find a small inexpensive way to treat you as we near the end of the shopping, sales, and crowds.

~ Growing Up Stacy ~ Friday memory from my childhood ~ Friday’s in our home were exciting; it meant a world of new things for the Winter time. Snow was on the ground, we could play in the yard, we could have snowball fights with each other. Those were simpler times, I would escape to my favorite secret place on the blue rocks near the Ocean, where no one knew where I was. Friday’s evenings were especially exciting – Mom could go grocery shopping again and we all would get McDonalds!

Spending time with my brothers and sisters ~ I hope your Friday brings a happy memory of your past ~ Friday’s are a good day ~

A story about my Mom

I remember one Christmas Eve, my Mother was pacing. I was about 10 years old. I remember wanting a specific doll I wrote to Santa for. I was worried, my Mother kept going to the bay window in our old home and peeking through the curtains. My Father was not home, and it was after dinnertime. I asked her what was wrong. She looked at me and said “Stacy, everything will be fine”. She talked to me like I was an adult at a very young age. She thought she was protecting me from the knowledge my Dad was an heavy drinker, but I knew. I knew she was worried because it was Friday and payday. She didn’t have enough time to shop for us. So she left the house early, and went in search of my Father; of course she knew exactly where he would be (at the local pub). She took the remainder of his pay, and drove in her station wagon to the local department store and fulfilled what she could from our lists. The next morning, when I opened the box and my doll was in it, I was overjoyed. Then I looked at my Mom, and she had tears in her eyes. I knew that money was due for the mortgage that month. I understood for the first time in my life what she did to make our holiday “fulfilled”. To this day, I will never forget the joy of that doll, or the price it came at.

Years later, I lost that doll. However, I told my daughter about it. She was about 10. Her letter to Santa said “I don’t want anything for me, but I want my Baby Chrissy doll found and sent to my Mother. Well, of course I read the letter and told my Mother who had long forgotten how much that doll meant to me and the sacrifice she made for it. Long story short, to please my daughter, I began a search for that doll (or like), and found it on EBay. I began to bid on a $14.99 doll which by this time was a collectable. I realized someone else wanted this doll very much as well, as the bidding price was rising to an extreme amount. I called my Mother to mention it, low and behold it was my Mother bidding against me. I never laughed so hard in that moment. I told my Mother to stop bidding, and I bought the doll. Had it shipped to myself, created a Santa letterhead and wrote a note to my daughter that “Santa” had found her Mother’s doll and was returning it to me. It was amazing to see the joy in my daughter’s eyes. The end of this story is not so great. Because the doll originally cost $14.99, and me and my Mom wanted to please my daughter and were bidding against each other. I ended up paying $225.00 for the damn thing. Now it’s been years, and Baby Chrissy in her original box lives in my closet.

Do your best for gifts folks, don’t over do. Think about your stress levels, and take care.

Picture this, it’s 2019

All you can think about is what is next, panic sets in, you didn’t shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday…Oh NO……Take a breath your family loves you, loves every inch of you for who you are. You work hard, maybe you’re unemployed, maybe your just sad. It’s ok. Embrace your feelings, love yourself more to know that you showing up is enough for everyone. I remember a holiday with my huge family, I had just got laid off, no $$. I told everyone I couldn’t shop for them. They said “hey that is fine”, you see I’m the one who overshops, I’m the one who is paying the credit card for the rest of the year.

You know what happened, we had a great dinner that my Mom provided, and I was just so at peace knowing the pressure was off.

What are you feeling? It’s fine to just show up!

It’s the Holiday season, how are we coping?

Are we spending too much, are we committing to visits we don’t want to go to? Why, what is driving this in you? Why do we do this to ourselves? I invite you to share your current thoughts, stressers, and let’s talk about it in a safe private place. How many of go into debt over feeling like “we have to buy this”. The funny thing is…..will that toy be broken in a week? Will that candle ever be lit? Share your thoughts.

How do we as a group of people who want to show and experience the joy of the holidays cope with the aftermath. I’ve decided after years of overspending, over pleasing to pause and ask myself, why? Family pressure? The funniest thing I heard was “A budget is telling your money where it goes, instead of where it went.

Take care of yourself, take a hot bath…..thoughts?