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Challenge: Gratitude & Giving

Dear Santa

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I’ve made it clear that I’ve long given up on sending out holiday cards and letters (here's why) but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a Christmas list.

Santa, most people know by now I am a fabulous yet flawed mom. If I’m being honest, I am super flawed. This parenting thing is hard and sometimes it seems there’s more opportunity to fail than succeed (despite what Facebook photos want us to believe). I guess like most moms, I could really use a few things to help me up my game and become better in the new year.

So if you and the elves can swing it …

First off, I’d like to request a stronger heart. Surely you already know I am overcome with pride that my oldest is adulting. He is living in his own apartment and working and schooling and contributing to society and well, successfully doing all the things that keep him from residing in my basement. This is no small feat so believe me, I am truly and greatly thankful. But just because all is well and good on the surface here doesn’t mean it’s perfect. You see, this independence-thing may be a bright light but it also breaks my heart a bit little each day. Maybe you could put a little something shiny under my tree that makes him want to call home … or check in … or show that he remembers he has a family at all? Even occasionally, that’d be great.

I’m also going to ask that you bring me some extra backbone to stop shielding my daughter — who’s also flown my coop – from life’s financial realities. Santa, please know I couldn’t be more thrilled that she is living a life most only dream of (that is, if you dream about seeing extraordinary places, being one with nature, saving the environment, helping children and making those around you pale in comparison to your genuine goodness). But if you’d only given me a little push to hand over ALL her bills to pay on her own, she might start to realize that the awesomely fun jobs with the most perks … don’t usually end up being the most lucrative. (Santa, please don’t use that ugly hashtag enabling. I get it. It’s just hard.)

Maybe while you’re unloading you can sneak a little perspective into my stocking? I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure that my handsome freshman crushing college (President’s List!) should really be front and center in my humble brag thoughts but my overwhelming urge to throttle him for his laziness at home always seems to throw shade at that. That he makes me scream the loudest in my own home remains my personal irony. If you promise to bring me a little help to recalibrate my irritated thinking then maybe this kid might survive to his sophomore year to continue doing great things.

I don’t particularly need any but if you could spare a bit of common sense, I swear I’d share it with my youngest. Check your naughty list: he’s my adorable charmer whose foolish behavior defies the fact his parents have been to this rodeo three times already. The boy lies when the truth would sound better. He truly believes he has mastered the art of pulling the wool over my eyes (Morgan Freeman narrating: Alas, the boy has not) so if you can swing it, I’d definitely re-gift that gem and pass it on to him.

I might ask for a few tips to help me be a better wife (never mind, who are we kidding) but since I’m on a roll, do you think maybe you could throw in some willpower for the new year? Not to be a better mom, but definitely to look a lot less bloated. Honestly, my friends are entirely out of control. They eat, they drink, they dance (they battle for a karaoke mic) and if I’m not careful I know one day a mortician is going to struggle adhering my lipstick correctly because of the permanent smile they’ve etched into my wrinkles.

Santa, I know I am enormously blessed and you know I’m just teasing with all this. But you should also know that every mom simply wants the exact same thing every single year but we never, ever get it: a slowdown of life. You know, that proverbial pause button. This gettin’-old sh*t is not for the weak. With each flip of a calendar page my life flashes before my eyes and a glaring proclamation of time passage hits me like a smack to the head.

I speak for the masses here: we’d all like that to stop, please. Come on. The only time moms want a fast-forward button is during the teething, ‘tweening, and telling-us-we’re-lame stages. I’m at the last stage here: my youngest is now driving (you know, on occasion, when he’s not grounded) and he knows if he tells me I’m lame, he’s back to hoofing it) so really, enough already.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, as the years go by I’m learning that the only gift worth a damn is time, specifically time with our kids. It’s the only collateral they’ll ever have worth anything to us. We all want it and can’t get enough of it. We want time to sit with them and talk … and watch TV … and play a game … and laugh … and drive to the store … even time to do nothing at all.

If it’s not too much trouble, could you just let our kids know that?

Thanks and – once again — sorry about the cookies (shrug, boys).

Maybe we’ll try some kale next year. That’ll keep them away.

Merry Christmas y’all!

Tina Drakakis blogs at Eyerollingmom and recently was featured in Huff Post. She appeared in the Boston production of “Listen to Your Mother: Giving Motherhood a Microphone.” Her work has been featured in NPR’s “This I Believe” radio series yet she places “Most Popular 1984” on top of her list of achievements. (Next would be the home improvement reality TV show of 2003 but her kids won’t let her talk about that anymore). A witty mother of four, she takes on cyberspace as @Eyerollingmom on Twitter and Eyerollingmom on Facebook & @Eyerollingmom on Instagram. Her collection of essays, A Momoir, can be found here (agent interest ALWAYS WELCOME!)

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