I went to write a Christmas list this year, like you asked for. I started out by writing that I want Marilynne Robinson’s “When I was a Child I Read Books”, The “Pina” dance film, the SLAKE literary journal, The poetry of Dana Gioia, also a record player. These are things I sort of want but I can tell you that what I want even more is simply to spend time with my family, to go places, do things and see things. I want to go to the theater, and walk around LA, and spend time smelling books in used bookstores and talk for hours over steaming coffee as it grows cold, and to look into the eyes of my mother and father and brothers and feel contentment. To see the ocean in the winter and to see trees that dress up so fantastically for the seasons. I want to experience the world every day as if it was the last day of my life, but also as if the big picture includes more than just me. I want to learn people and meet new ones all the time. I want to serve God like my life depended on Him, because, lets face it, it does.
I want to cook meals and watch the people I love enjoy them. I want to receive letters and spend time writing back. I want to find secret places where magic still exists and bask in the warmth of the untouched places still left to this world. I want to read poetry and stories out loud in spaces made just for that purpose, underneath a spreading chestnut tree or over a lazy river on a warm summer day. I want to run around like a child and lie in the grass guessing at the shapes shifting in the clouds. I want to go to a zoo. I want to read, and read, and read, then talk with people about books and find those who are as fascinated with the world as I am.
I want to see creation through I microscope and through a telescope, then just with my own eyes. I want to write new stories, not because I think I can add to the vast world of literature as it is but because I want to respond to the conversation of time that beckons me in. I want to climb to the tops of tall buildings and watch sunsets and sunrises. I want to make snow angels and sandcastles and daisy chains. I want to love and to be loved. I want to shop in thrift shops and spend my free time talking to homeless people and showing them the love of the Father. I want to create paintings, drawings and music that will remind people of the one who created us in His image so we could be little creators. I want to listen to the craftsmanship of great composers and skilled musicians, and gape for hours at the brush strokes of the demi-gods who are worshipped in galleries.
I want to collect sea glass on the oceans doorstep and train marbles by the tracks. I want to breathe the air of different countries and see how its different from mine – or the same. I want to make wishes on eyelashes, puffed up white dandelions and shooting stars. I want to let the televisions of the world gather dust and fall asleep while I see the world for what it really is. I want to watch things grow and watch them die to let other things in. I love music and art and literature and people and conversation and timeless moments. I want to stretch in the sun on a wooden boat on a tired old river with trees hugging the banks. I want to hold a hedgehog and ride a horse. I want to eat fresh snow every winter and feel my face grow red and icy in the cold wind. I want to go for long walks in forests when they are fully clothed and when they are completely naked. I want to sleep for hours knowing that the people I love are near me and that they are safe. I want to click my heels and play my violin and dance even though I so obviously don’t know how.
I want to hear people’s stories and let them cry and laugh. I want to get wrinkles around my eyes and mouth where I laugh and frown. I want to sing and talk till I’m hoarse and then do it some more. I want to play board games all night with you, mom. I want you to beat me at scrabble and tell me how you only drink herbal tea and hate vegetables and salad dressing. I want to sit across from you in the fat chairs in your room and hear about your students and your teaching and how much you love what you do. I want to hear stories about how you grew up with your sisters and how you met daddy. I want to know what it was like for you to see your children grow up from babies to become adults. I want to see you bundle up in the cold so I can laugh and call you “snow penguin”. I want to learn how you did it all those years – how you took care of four kids who could drive anybody insane. I want to reminisce about the times you read to us on sleepy afternoons with the smell of fresh baked bread laced in the air like an opiate. I want to give you foot massages since I’m the only one who doesn’t tickle your feet. I want to come in your room and jump on your bed to distract you from your Grisham novel when you’re tucked into bed in your jamies. I want to curl up next to you so that you stroke my hair and call me your favorite daughter (lucky for me you only have one). I want to tell you all of my stories and secrets and revel in our blooming friendship. I want to talk about how brilliant my little brother is. I want to make you laugh and see your beautiful smile light up the room. I want to tell you that you’re the most incredible mother a girl could ever ask for and that I love you more than all the things this world has to offer. These are the things that I really want this year. I know its a tall order so you don’t have to get me everything listed here. I’ll understand if the only one I can have is cuddling with you. I love you momma.