Dear Santa

August 27, 2010

Dear Santa Clause,

Mommy and Daddy say you don’t exist because we’re Jewish. But my best friend Wanda says that you do and she’s my best friend so I’m going to listen to her.

I’m 8 and I’m starting 3d grade tomorrow. I don’t want to go back to school. But Wanda says that Christmas will be here very soon (in 4 months) and that then I can get presents from you if I ask for them nicely.

Wanda got a lot of nice presents last year. She got another pony doll for her collection and a bathing suit for the summer (she says that was a funny present to get in the winter but I said it was a good idea and that you’re smart for thinking ahead) and a computer game about ponies (how do you know that she likes ponies? Does she tell you?) and also a book that’s about a horse (she likes ponies better than horses but she still liked the book. It was about a ghost horse! It was a good book. We read it together.)

I have been very good this year Santa. I wrote in my diary every day like the reading and writing teacher said I should last year because I wasn’t so good at it. Mommy helped me with spelling all the time but then she also showed me how to find the right spelling on Google. Do you know about Google Santa? I bet you do. Maybe you started it. I asked Wanda why I couldn’t email you and she said that you didn’t have internet in the North Pole (or South Pole? I can’t remember but I’ll ask Wanda before I send the letter).

I have also been helping Mommy do shopping for food every week and I take my dog Pesky for a walk every day (Mommy and Daddy take him for walks too) but only around the park because Mommy doesn’t want me to cross the street alone yet. I crossed the street alone once because Wanda dared me to but except for that I have been very good!

I know it is early to write to you, but I wanted to tell you that even though I’m Jewish and we have Hanukah I still want to have Christmas too. It’s not just for the presents. I’m not greedy! It’s just that Wanda has a fireplace and we don’t so I think you’ll have to come in through the window in my room (it’s biggest) and then I’ll get to see you. I want to meet your raindeer. Why are they called that Santa? Do they like the rain?

Like Mommy said to do I’m reading everything I wrote now to check for spelling and I fixed some stuff (ok a lot of stuff but I’m getting better!) and I know that I asked you a lot of questions. Will you write back to me Santa? I hope you will. I want a penpal.

I hope I see you in December!

Sincerely,

Me (Wanda says you know who we are and that we shouldn’t write our names in case someone else finds the letter and tries to find out where we live. But you know where we live already so that’s ok)

Birthday Genie

“Rise and shine, Cupcake.”

“Huh? Wha’? Whossere?”

“Cantcha see me, Lovey?”

“Okay, really, who’s there?”

“Right here, Honeybunch!”

“This must be a dream. Because you’re in my alarm clock.

“Yeah, well, it’s not my fault if your friends thought it would be┬áhilarious┬áto buy you a Disney-themed birthday present.”

“Sure, I’ll play along, because this is going to be a fun dream to tell people about tomorrow. If you’re the Genie, why don’t you sound like Robin Williams?”

“I do!”

“No, you don’t.”

“Do too!”

“Whatever.”

“Anyway, as I said, rise and shine and all that. It’s officially your birthday. So what do you want from me?”

“So you’re a bona-fide genie? Well, in this dream anyway?”

“It’s not a dream, Cherry-blossom. And yes, I am.”

“Quit it with the flowery nicknames, will you? It’s getting old. So how many wishes do I get?”

“The usual three. Gotta go by tradition here, Honey-pie. Honey and pie aren’t flowers.”

“You’re obnoxious, you know that?”

“Whatever, as you’d say.”

“Okay, so here are my wishes. I want to wake up, have a good day and never have this weird dream again.”

“Seriously? No money, princes, true love, eternal life, all that stuff?”

“Since this is a dream – NO.”

“It isn’t a dream. But okay, here goes, if that’s really all you want. You ready?”

“Yes, I’m quite ready to wake up from this ridiculous dream, thank you.”

“Well, you’re missing out on a great opportunity here. But if you’re sure…

BEEP BEEP BEEP”

Birthday

If you think about it, the concept of birthdays is a strange one. We commemorate the day we were born – a day which we can’t remember and which we didn’t have much physical participation in. Wouldn’t it make sense to remember the day we said our first words? Or the day we took our first steps? Maybe the date of our earliest memories? But no, we celebrate this day of all days in the year as something special.

When I was a kid, birthdays just didn’t feel like regular days. They felt magical, full of special occurrences, little traditions and big wrapped gifts. My mother would read me The Birthday Bird book by Dr. Seuss every birthday morning, and then the whole family would go out to a hidden picnic table in my favorite park to eat cupcakes, play Frisbee, talk and watch the sunset through the distant skyscrapers.

Today felt like a pretty normal day, despite being my nineteenth birthday. But then, that’s what happens as you get older. Birthdays stop being magical and become just… nothing much. There are still presents and there’s still some fuss made with friends and loved ones, but the magic is gone from the day. It’s bittersweet, really, because although I miss the special fuzzy feeling that I got on my birthdays, I also appreciate that I’m wiser now and more willing to find magic in my daily routines and simple pleasures instead of putting all my excitement about life into one day of the year.