Friday, December 20, 2013
Dear Santa: A New Dad's Letter...
It has been a good many years since I last wrote to you. I hope you have been well and enjoying life in the North Pole. As these New England winters have worn on me year after year, I am more impressed than ever that you make a permanent home in the polar region. You are one tough dude for taking on those relentless elements year round! Anyway, I know you are a busy man, so let me get right down to business. There are a few important items I need to share with you.
First, I can't remember if I properly thanked you or not, so let me take the opportunity now to say thank you for all the great gifts I received as a child. Those very first gifts I remember were so amazing. Each one its own little miracle. The bag of He-Man action figures, the inflatable punching bag, even the Dukes of Hazzard and CHiPs underoos... you were very generous. I know, I know... I was an incredibly good boy... right? But you remained generous year after year without fail. From Go-Bots to Transformers, from G.I. Joe to M.A.S.K., and every cool little toy in between... thank you so much. You have left something special under my Christmas tree for 36 years now and it is high time I genuinely thanked you for that.
I also need to apologize to you, as sincerely as I can. There was a stretch of years there where my belief and faith in you wavered a bit. Friends in school said you were not real, I picked up cues from grown-ups around me that this was all made up, and then I saw people in the media saying the same thing over and over. This "no Santa" talk reached a point where it seemed like I was the only one who still believed in you, so I did something terrible. I let myself cave in to the naysayers. I allowed the negativity to infect my own heart and mind. I watched myself grow into a bit of a cynical doubter, just like the others. I like to think I never reached the level of a full Santa Claus denier, but certainly I let that disbelief take control for too long. I was wrong. And I apologize for that.
You see, Santa, the main problem I had was a misunderstanding of who, or what, you are. My biggest mistake came very early on. I allowed myself to become fixated on the presents. How many did I get? Did I get exactly what I wanted? What did my friends get? Get, get, get... a word you became synonymous with. You were a gift giver and not much more. Christmas and Santa Claus became a matter of material possession. So naturally, when that aspect of your identity took a hit, the whole Santa image seemed to crumble. Thankfully, I have now reached a point in my life where I can fully believe in you once again... because I know exactly who you are.
Santa Claus, you are kindness. You are the pinnacle of unconditional generosity, never expecting any payment in return. You are a smiling face, a jolly laugh, and kind eyes that never fail us. You are a challenge that dares us to believe in magic, even the impossible. When cynicism, anger, jealousy, and greed saturate our world, you are a constant reminder of our power to defeat them. You are a favorite memory, a cherished wish, and genuine hope. All too often you are the one bright spot in a child's difficult life, while proving that good behavior brings just rewards to so many more. Loyalty of love defines you, staying true to all of us even when we turn away from you. You are equality, caring for all children regardless of their nationality, skin color, or lifestyle. At a time when we are told to question everyone and trust no one, you are the one figure every human at every age can find guaranteed goodness and warmth in. When my baby girl saw you for the first time today, looked up, and smiled with awe and wonder... I was reminded how thoroughly and purely good you are.
In short, Santa Claus, you are so much more than a man who travels the world bringing gifts to children. You are all the very best things from our human spirit. You are a symbol of what we can and should be in life. You are an annual reminder that you do, indeed, exist... deep inside every one of us. We can all be Santa Claus if we want to, or choose to. Some people say we need less Santa Claus in Christmas. I beg to differ. I think we need you more than ever before.
I believed in you as a little boy, Santa. Now I believe in you once again... through the eyes of a father and the heart of my little girl. Thank you, again, Santa. And don't worry... I'll make sure I leave a few extra cookies out this year.
After all, I have some catching up to do.