A few weeks ago, before innocence was shattered and such sadness took over our country, a sweet girl made a list. A list that was all about faith, and hope and goodness. A list that was about selflessness and using your wishes to help others. A list that was about believing dreams can come true.
The "list" is my daughter's Christmas wish list for Santa. Every year she puts one together to help organize all her "wishes". The gifts that are the most special are usually reserved for Santa. If there is something Molly really wants. Really desires. Really thinks will change her eight year old world...then it makes it on the list to Santa. It is her belief that special wishes can be granted if she is a good and kind girl, worthy of making Santa's "good" list. It is her wholehearted belief in something she cannot really understand or always figure out, that makes me smile and fills my heart.
This year, a few days before the annual breakfast with Santa, Molly sat down and started cutting out pictures of dance clothes from a catalog. They were shiny tops and a little too tiny bottoms. Bright colors and lots of sequins. They were all very "Molly" like and I knew they were going on the Santa list. These were special. They embodied her love of dance and were a symbol of her true passion. I made note that the dance clothes will would be left to Santa to take care of. I watched her carefully sit down with scissors, glue, markers and green paper. She was very quiet and very serious as she glued on dance wear pictures and wrote and wrote. After a little bit, she brought me her list. Her eyes were filled with so much love and kindness and a sparkle shone from them, I was so curious to see what made the list.
Full of pride and hope, she showed me the list. I scanned it for gifts that she knew her mom and dad would not buy for her, so only Santa could or would. But at the top of her list was not a toy or iPad or special Justice outfit, it was a wish for her brother. It was a wish for her four year old little brother, who has struggled with communication and due to his chromosome duplication, has left him with many special needs. It was a wish for her brother to "be able to talk." Molly has been a big sister for over four years, but has still never heard her name called out by her brother. She has never heard any words from her little brother. My special little Brady is, so far, nonverbal and our wish to hear words flow from our son, is one that my husband and I hold deep in our hearts each and every day. But for my eight year old daughter to use her top spot on her wish list on a gift that is so precious, made my eyes fill with tears that come from a place of both sadness and hope. I realized that as hard, and as often, as I have been praying and hoping and believing that someday I will hear my son call me "mommy", my daughter has been waiting to hear her brother call her "sissy" just as long.
My daughter truly believes Santa can help us out. She believes he will fill her little brother's world with the freedom and independence that words will give him. She believes Santa will bring her dad and I a sense of peace, if her little brother can just say a few words. She believes he can make her mommy smile the biggest smile she has ever seen if her brother can just greet us with a big "good morning" as we gather around the tree Christmas morning. She believes that Santa can bring her the one thing her heart desires. The one thing that will complete her world. She believes, with an open heart and a sense of hope that only exists in the sweet innocence of childhood, that Santa can help her baby brother finally say the words we have all desperately longed to hear. She believes. She believes in so much goodness and has faith that wishing hard enough makes your heart's dreams a reality.
It is my eight year old daughter's continued belief in goodness, faith and hope that has helped me get through this last week of so much unbearable loss and sadness. The horrific events of last Friday, left me brokenhearted. When I shared what had happened with my Molly, I was worried she would be scared. I was worried she would not want to return to school. I was worried that her belief in goodness would be shattered. Instead, my sweet girl, with tears streaming down her face, said she had no fear. She had only sadness and so much sympathy for the parents, the brothers and sisters, the 1st grade friends and the teachers who had lost loved ones. She was so sad, but she did not lose her faith that goodness is all around us and will protect us.
As I type this, just a few days before Christmas morning, I think about my daughter's list and I am hopeful, that even if Santa cannot grant those wishes this year, her faith in Santa and all the goodness he represents will not be lost. She reminds me everyday that there is still so much pure joy, so much kindness and selflessness and so much hope in this world, even when there is darkness that tries to cover up our faith in goodness. Molly's list is somewhere in the North Pole, tucked away deep in Santa's workshop, but for me, it will always live on deep in my heart, knowing her belief in both her special little brother and the power of good can make even the toughest days, a little brighter.
Merry Christmas to all and may all see their wishes granted by the spirit of Santa that still lives deep in all of our hearts.