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From the Department of Christmas in July

July 10, 2010

I made a Christmas Wish List many Christmases ago.  I folded it up, stuck it in an envelope, addressed it to Santa Claus (at the North Pole, of course), stamped it, and pushed it down the slot of a blue mailbox miles away from where I lived.  I was twenty-two.

The list had everything I wanted that December, from that silk shirt in the glossy magazine, to a second chance with a boy who was The Boy at the time and for a long time before and for a long time after that.  I penned down the name of my Dream Law School and other items that weren’t as life-changing.  I scribbled the list in my journal, so I could point to it later and say – “A-Ha!  Christmas miracle!  I KNEW there was hope!”

I didn’t get anything from the list that year.  I didn’t tell anyone (other than Santa) that I wanted a silk shirt.  It was impractical and I felt silly asking for it.  So I wrote it down on my Christmas Wish List with after-Christmas sales in mind, but even discount prices didn’t match my bank account that year.  The Boy turned into a “friend” and eventually a boy.  The Dream Law School sent me a rejection letter; I put it in the pile behind my acceptance letters and moved on.

Maybe I asked for the wrong things – that is what I told myself when none of it came Christmas morning or the mornings after.  I rationalized that the silk shirt was pointless in muddy Vermont, and I didn’t travel anywhere that warranted a luxury shirt.  The Boy perhaps needed to become a boy, and the Dream Law School was all wrong for me because it had no real guarantees I would get into the joint Master’s Program.  (I had PLANS, you know.  I couldn’t have rejection tripping me up.  HA.)  I had asked for all the wrong things.  Who was I to know what I wanted and what was good for me?  I never again even entertained the idea of writing a letter to Santa.  Which somehow translated itself to never again whole-heartedly saying “THIS is EXACTLY what I want.”

Looking back, I could have married The Boy and been blissful for eternity.  The Dream Law School probably was a better choice for me, even if I didn’t get into the joint Master’s program.  The courses better fit my career goals.  Classic silk shirts never go out of fashion, and I wasn’t going to stay in Vermont forever or even another winter season.  Nothing I asked for was wrong.

But how important are those things really?  And is now the best time to judge what I needed/wanted/should have been asking for?

Maybe the right thing to put on that list was strength to endure the trails that awaited in the future that I didn’t even know existed.  That would be if I was asking for things for myself and not for other people.  Because really, if I could have asked for anything that year, it would have been for my landlady’s daughter not to have gotten in that car.  And for the pain to disappear from the world of my precious eighth grader.  And for the word “homeless” to stay out of sentences where the kids I cared so much about were the subject. I just didn’t know all that was coming, so I asked for a small piece of luxury and education and love.

Today I am happy where I am in my life and where I went to school and I even (much to my surprise) received a gorgeous silk shirt from my mom last Christmas.  I thought of my Christmas List Wish to Santa when I opened the box.

I don’t know what challenges the future holds.  Everyday I ask the universe (Santa Claus?) for the strength to face them as they arise.  In addition, I am slowly learning how to say “THIS is EXACTLY what I want” without mixing it with what I want for other people, or wondering if I’m asking for the wrong things.  If they are the wrong things, bring them on, I can handle them, too.  I’m learning how to nurture hope again.  I’m making small lists on napkins and on corners of scrap paper of the things I want.   The life changes and tiny details.  I’m thinking of combining them and sending Santa a Christmas Wish List in July.  Maybe  just as a heads up to the universe that I know what I want – and I’m not afraid to say that anymore.

  1. July 12, 2010 7:09 pm

    Hello, Emily! Thank you for your kind words!! 🙂 I’ve seen your blog before as well, via Nicole of course, and I love it! Your writing seems so effortless, I wish mine would flow like this. The last paragraph of this post, in particular, mirrors my thoughts as of late. Difficult stuff, this life-thing encompasses, huh?

    P.S. This Font. I love this font. I may just switch to WordPress because of this font.

    • July 13, 2010 12:24 pm

      Aww, thanks Alivia! That means a lot to me! And I agree, who knew life would be so complicated and simple at the same time? Sometimes, when I’m around little kids, I feel like I am keeping a secret. I guess this is what growing up is?

      The font is from They have a ton of great fonts – maybe they work on blogger too?

  2. July 13, 2010 2:24 pm

    Emily I stumbled upon your blog on 20sb, and I have to say that i am glad you can look at your life today and admit you are happy. I am not sure if you are a religious person, but I always go by this saying because sometimes when our needs are so great and we pray and ask for things, sometimes we don’t get what we need or want. We wonder how we’re going to get through this? How is this going to work out? Sometimes we feel so helpless and hopeless. i always tell myself that He always knows just what we need and His timing is perfect. All the lay offs and failed relationships with ex girlfriends have landed me a good career today and even though I’m single, the door is open for the right woman to come in. Great post and I’ll be back to your blog from time to time 🙂


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