I believe. I believe in the magic of the season. I believe that anything is possible at Christmas time. I believe that if you dig deeply into that place inside your heart, that you didn't even know existed, and let yourself believe, a special kind of magic can take over. I believe. I believe in the magic of Santa. I believe that the "realness" of Santa lives in all of us. I let myself believe.
This is a magical time of year. A time when wooden nutcrackers come to life and snowmen laugh and play with us and one very special reindeer, who looked and acted different than his peers...became a hero. It is truly a magical time of the year. My family believes in the magic of this time of the year. We have to believe. My seven year old daughter Molly is fighting so hard to continue to believe. Believe in Santa, believe in possibilities and believe that "magical" things can happen. She has been writing letters to Santa pretty regularly the last few weeks. Letters in class, letters on the computer and letters at home when she should be doing homework. Her letters all focus on her brother.
Of course, she mentions a few items she would like for herself, that darn I-Pod Touch keeps popping up, but mostly she asks Santa for one thing....for her three and a half year old brother to talk. This week she even told me, "this time I told Santa I would be happy if Brady just said one word." My heart breaks and fills with pride all at the same time. Molly and I have had so many discussions about Santa. About believing in Santa and what exactly Santa's "magic" is. She knows it is not the witchy type of magic - not "Wizards of Waverly Place" magic. But a different type of magic. The kind of magic that comes from believing that anything is possible. The kind of magic that appears this time of the year. We have seen this type of "magic" happen first hand.
Brady was a little over six months old at his first family Christmas party. We had not seen Brady really smile yet. You have to understand, that we didn't even really know the color of Brady's eyes until he was about three months old, because he just couldn't keep his eyes open. We were looking for a little Christmas "magic" after the challenging start and entrance Brady had into this world. While party chaos swirled around us, and about sixty family members laughed and sang carols, Brady laid in my husband's cousin's lap and looked up and smiled. He really, really smiled. A big smile spread across his lips and lit up his whole face. We allowed ourselves to believe, because a little magic had just happened. I don't know if it was just time for him to smile or if it was holiday magic-but we let ourselves believe.
A few weeks ago my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas. There are not really any things I need or even want, except one. I want to hear my son's voice so badly. I want to hear him call out my name, "mom." But I know that those are not the kind of wishes you put on a Christmas "list." I told Molly that the only thing I really wanted this year, much like her, was to hear Brady talk. I told her though, that Santa cannot bring us things like that because he cannot change how we are born or "fix" us when things inside of us are broken. Molly looked at me with a seven year's old surprise that I would say something so silly.She said, "Mom, don't you remember we had asked Santa to help Brady to walk and then a few months later, he did? So you should ask him to help Brady talk."
Of course, I had forgotten. I had forgotten that I had allowed myself to believe and wish and hope at a time when I thought Brady would never walk. At a time when Brady's hypotonia was so severe and his little body so floppy, that walking seemed almost impossible, I had believed and about six months after Christmas 2009, my son walked at age 26 months. I know in my mind that Brady didn't start walking because I asked Santa to bring me this joy. I know medically, he started to walk from months and months of physical therapy and his body getting a little stronger. I know he walked because of his own sheer will and desire to get around. But maybe Molly was right. Maybe if I just allow myself to believe again...maybe we will wake up Christmas morning and the one thing on my Christmas list will be waiting for me under our tree.
This year, the family Christmas party did not feel very magical to my husband or I. Instead, it was more like a reflection of what our day to day life with Brady is like. We spent most of the night feeling frustrated, and a little sad, as Brady walked around the party knocking over tables, getting hurt, oblivious to the ten plus cousins playing around him, whining to go home and feeling out of sorts all evening as he anticipated Santa's imminent arrival. But after the annual pinata was smashed and the kids eagerly gathered up candy, Brady found happiness hitting the empty pinata box. He stood in the midst of children filling candy bags, oblivious to the chaos around him and happily hit the shell of what had been a pinata, over and over. A huge grin spread over his face and his eyes sparkled as aunts and uncles watched with smiles as our son found his own peace and joy. We laughed that something so simple, brought such happiness to our special little boy.
The thing about this time of the year, is that magical moments, as fleeting as some are, can happen anywhere. It was a little bit of magic and we let ourselves believe...at least for a few minutes.
This is a truly extraordinary time of the year. It is a time when hope and happiness and love and kindness and, most of all, faith all swirl together. I am not usually a person who allows myself to believe in things that I cannot rationalize or see or touch. I am usually a so-called realist. I spend much of my time preparing for Brady's future and trying to find answers. I worry about my son so much, but at this time of the year, at least for a few short weeks in December, I try to let go of the fear and frustration that fills our life and let myself believe that anything is possible.
Hoping and wishing is what we do with dreams. It can be scary, because dreams do not always come true. But when we let ourselves believe, then that is when we get small miracles. I am allowing myself to believe. In my heart, I believe that my daughter will get to hear her brother yell out her name, Molly or sissy or something just like that. It may not be this Christmas morning, but it will be someday. I have told Molly that Santa is only real if you continue to believe with all your might. She looked at me, with the eyes that tell such a truth and said she believes. She said with such confidence, "I will always believe." She smiled at me, as if to say, I know you believe too Mom. My daughter reminds me to look deep inside my heart and allow myself to believe and as always, my son inspires me to believe.
A very merry Christmas to everyone this holiday season and may you allow yourself to believe too...