I realize it’s been years since last I held that childhood wonderment over your existence. This would have been my eleventh year playing your role on Christmas Eve, but the kids will be with their dad so I’ll be sitting out this time. I already bought myself two gifts (thank you, Nordstrom, for your sale on pretty handbags) because I know you’re not going to slide down my chimney next week. But Santa, that hasn’t stopped me from coming up with a wishlist. On the off chance you decide to bless me with a few gifts, I’ve written you a list with suggestions.
1. Time – I could get away with 5-6 hours of sleep in my 20s. Hell, even my early 30s. I’d wake up a little groggy but not looking like a 50 year old chain smoker with a hangover. Now, with my two jobs and my four kids and my fabulously bustling social life (do you and the elves know much about sarcasm?), I’m getting the bare minimum of rest and I wake up with my face puffy and dry and I swear I could be an extra in The Walking Dead, no special makeup effects necessary. If you could add an additional 2 hours to each day, I’ll be golden. My children and my skin will thank you.
2. Babysitters – Do you know how much it costs to hire a babysitter for four kids, Santa? Twelve freaking dollars an hour. Not a bad gig for a teenage girl, right? But not so good for the divorced mama. Even if I only ventured out after the kids were asleep, I’d be looking at $36 just to leave the house between 9:00 and midnight. Then there’s parking, cover charges, dinner, drinks. I’m content right now to get out every other weekend when my kids are with their dad, but it would be nice if you could find me some sitters who are responsible, not as phone addicted as I am, and are miraculously free. Bonus points if they will do dishes and bring crafty ideas with them.
3a. Peace – World peace is a wonderful goal, but I’m not asking for anything so lofty and ambitious. I want to feel peace with where I’m at in my life. I thought I had found it earlier this year, when my divorce was finally, well, final, but I’m starting to experience these bouts of unsettledness lately, like I’m not quite sure where I’m supposed to be. I want to feel like I already am where I’m supposed to be, and that anywhere else I go in the future will also be where I’m supposed to be. Also, perhaps you can remind me whether it’s grammatically correct to end a sentence with “to be.” I’m too tired and busy to look it up myself.
3b. Peace II – I want to feel at peace with my appearance. I don’t watch much TV, I don’t subscribe to any beauty or glamour magazines, and I hang out with beautiful friends with good self-esteem. I read inspirational quotes about acceptance on Pinterest like it’s my job. Yet knowing I should be okay with how I look doesn’t make it so – I am getting Botox later this week, I fret over my outfits and how they fit (or don’t) with concern that should be reserved for major life decisions like where to go to college or whether to get married or not, I weigh myself three times a day, and I look at my skin with a magnifying mirror just to feel as bad as possible about every new line and errant hair as they crop up.
4. Patience – When my kids come back to me after being with their dad for five days, I find it harder to snap back into mom-mode. I get impatient when little hands don’t zip their coats fast enough because I got accustomed to leaving the house when I was ready. When Netflix takes more than 45 seconds to load a new episode of Orange is the New Black I wonder what could possibly have happened to make the process so drawn-out. “On-demand” is a complete misnomer, right?
5. A date for my work’s holiday party – I know I should be confident and assured enough to go solo but I’m sooo not there yet. I’d like a fun date who comes with a plausible “how we met” back story because my holiday party is in, like, two weeks and that’s simply not enough time to find a boyfriend. So I need a pretend one for a night.
6. Wine – I don’t need much. Five or six bottles should be good to get me from Christmas to New Year’s. The bitterly cold holiday season I’ll be spending alone. No big deal.
7. A housekeeper – I would submit a photo of my house as evidence to support my need, but I’m afraid you would skip my place entirely on Christmas Eve if you saw the current chaos.
8. One night in a fancy hotel – I want to feel like I’m on vacation, sleep in a bed that someone else will make in the morning and eat breakfast that someone besides me prepares. A mimosa in the morning would be lovely but I won’t be greedy. Also, if my pretend boyfriend from wish #5 is available, let’s invite him along. Provided he does not snore, because what good is a night in a swanky hotel if you can’t sleep in?
9. Flat abs I can get from fitness – Because a tummy tuck is crazy expensive and scary.
10. More creativity – I can’t even think of a tenth want. Must be time for me to go to bed.
Image of Santa and the live eels used under creative commons license from Jenene Chesbrough.