Heaving a huge sigh, she thought, “CHRISTMAS? Already? Again?”
Wondering again what insanity made her husband put the floorlength mirror on the laundry room wall, she stuck out her bottom lip, foofing the hair out of her eyes. “Suck it in? Right. You wanna wear this broom somewhere real uncomfortable?”
Grinning tiredly at her self-talk, her eyes fell on the long Walmart receipt laying on the dryer. Oh, good; more to throw away. For a minute she just stood leaning against the warmth, sipping lukewarm coffee from the ‘LOVING TAOS’ mug. She’d never been there. It was just the first one she’d grabbed. She hated any coffee that was anything but hot; but by the time she got the chance to enjoy any, it was always—
“Guess I need to thin out our coffee mug selection, too.” Musing as her eyes focused again on the lengthy receipt, an idea hit. She patted her pockets. No pen. Aw, c’mon…Surely— She looked around with a mom’s eye. There’s always something around to write with when kids are involved. Usually permanent. Right?
A-hah! Purple? Purple? Really? Crayon seemed lately to have redacted their color names under the tutelage of an interior designer. Purple. Good ol’ purple. 2nd grade. Mrs. Harpster. Never knew what hit ‘er and the underside of that desk was never the same. NE-ver.
Drawing in a long breath and sighing it out, Melanie let a half-grin creep out from the left corner of her mouth as she turned the long receipt over and, smoothing it on the top of the dryer, she began to write . . .
I’ve been a good mom all year. I’ve fed, cleaned, and cuddled my two children on demand, visited the doctor’s office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground, and figured out how to attach nine patches onto my daughter’s girl scout sash with staples and a glue gun.
“I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son’s purple crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I’ll find any more free time in the next 18 years.
“So here are my Christmas wishes:
I’d like a pair of legs that don’t ache after a day of chasing kids (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don’t flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to carry a screaming toddler out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. Or the toy section.
“I’d also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.
“If you’re hauling big ticket items this year, I’d like a car with fingerprint- and nose-resistant windows and a radio that plays only big-people music; a television that doesn’t broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper big enough where I can hide to talk on the phone.
She paused to sharpen the crayon the old-fashioned way – rubbing it back and forth on the flap of a cardboard box left on the rickety folding table.
“On the practical side, I could use a talking daughter doll that says, “Yes, Mommy” to boost my parental confidence, along with one potty-trained toddler, two kids who don’t fight, and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.
“I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, “Don’t eat in the living room” and “Take your hands off your brother,” because my voice seems to be just out of my children’s hearing range and can be heard only by the dog.
“And please don’t forget the Playdoh Travel Pack, the hottest stocking stuffer this year for mothers of preschoolers. It comes in three fluorescent colors and is guaranteed to crumble on any carpet, making the in-law’s house seem just like mine.
“If it’s too late to find any of these products, I’d settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. Speaking of which, my microwave is about to bite the dust, too. Forget I mentioned dust.
“If you don’t mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It would clear my conscience immensely.
“It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family; or if my toddler didn’t look so cute sneaking downstairs in his jammies to continue his quest to locate my chocolate stash and eat contraband ice cream at midnight.
“Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my daughter saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think she wants her crayon back. Anyway, there’s no more space on this receipt. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the chimney and come in and dry off by the fire so you don’t catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don’t eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.
“Yours Always, Mom
“P.S. One more thing: You can cancel all my requests if you can keep my kids this young forever.”
Before opening the door to a now-persistently-whining little girl, she took a moment to read over what she’d written on a whim. Then, in the practiced ease of mothers everywhere, she sent a quick prayer Heavenward for her swiftly-growing kids as she opened the door. Instantly, a little dervish in Pooh jammies attached herself to her thigh. Her eyes radiated an intense love moms everywhere know and she spoke words that just melted her heart:
“MO-O-OB! ALBIE’S god by KIDDEN id your TOYLED A-GED!” Her head dropped in that universal body language sign for, “Really?” Note to self. Theraflu.
– the original Mom’s Letter To Santa came from an unknown author. I adapted it for all 2nd Cuppers everywhere – especially moms of people shorter than your kitchen sink.
© D. Dean Boone, December 2014