Oh Santa

Before the Christmas break, he asked us if there’s a Santa. At nine years old, that’s what they do. I answered as many a surprised thoughtful parent before me and said,”What do you think ?” That was probably the give away cliché answer. He already knew the truth and I had confirmed it.

So that evening I asked him to write out his Christmas list, his first response was that he’d just wait until Christmas Eve to write it. A test, I suppose, to see if Santa was real. I was slightly irritated. And when he presented his list, he was hyper nervous. Like he knew we were all living a lie.Santa hat on the couch on

What happened next was all a self-fulfilling prophecy. I went to internet search that lego train and left the words “lego train” up in my google search box. And when I thought I’d erased all traces of my search, asked him to put his log-in password for the library to renew some books. And he saw those words. What are those words doing there he asked.

And the unraveling began. Those words representing Santa’s big present,  that one event that keeps the magic of Christmas going. As he was asking why those words were up there, I was casually saying I just wanted to see what he was asking for but I knew I was done. If that present was there under the tree Christmas morning, the jig would be up. He would know without a doubt that there was no Santa at that very moment. Even though that train was what he really wanted, I’d have blown it. My fault Christmas died.

Santa on

I think the responsibility to keep the innocence and tend the magic of Christmas is a tremendous responsibility. The stories, presents, cookies and reindeer carrots, milk, and filled stockings are all part of the production that is childhood. Not only do you have to keep your children alive but you’re responsible for their imaginations and their faith. To know that we are also then responsible for their innocence and sense of wonder and it’s demise is almost too much for me to bear.Playing with the wooden trains on

So I ordered it anyway. I made sure to drag my feet about it so that now, the distance from New Jersey to here was the longest distance for anything to travel in a week. Faith in the holiday and its miraculous wonder diminished and I was paying a huge price to still watch it blow up. It’s inevitable of course. And I am but another casualty in the end of the production. Except, I have Fiona who’ll be two in March. And she’s yet to even understand the concept of Santa.

family on the couch on

The package came with time to spare. I sighed with such relief. And Mark asked that Eamon write a cover letter to Santa to go with his Christmas request list, So he did. He asked questions about Rudolph’s nose and if kids actually got coal. His letter got hand delivered by me to Santa’s representative at the post office who’s been handling his requests since he could express them. This is Santa’s response letter he got back on Tuesday. We were both very amused.

Eamon's letter to Santa on

Come Christmas eve, he was excited. But he didn’t ask to see the Santa tracker on the computer. We didn’t put out the magic reindeer food (oats and glitter) on the lawn. And he forgot the cookies and milk,  I had to dummy them up on a table top near the fireplace.

front door on

He maintained his cool the entire time!!! Because he still wanted to believe. And he was certain he was getting that train and he was right. The fabulous expensive present was the price I paid to be able to bow out gracefully from future Christmas lies. I can say I did everything within my power to keep the illusion going this year. He had a wonderful fun overstimulating Christmas and that is as it should be. And next year, the charade will start all over again. And I will have his help to gift the wonderful lie to his sister. How befitting the end for one marks the beginning for the other. And if he blows it for her, he’ll die a slow heinous death.



A fellow blog suggested a pictorial theme for post and she picked “peaceful” as the inspiration.

My thought went to my sleeping child. The peace there, if bottled, would tame the most savage in any of us. And in light of the sad anniversary today, I could think of no better image than of my sleeping child to bring me hopeful lovely thoughts of our world.

The three shots I picked show a beautiful little boy who’s changing before our eyes. Yes, I see it. Notice  the purple blanket in every shot.  And know that he still sleeps with “banks”.


Baby Boy Eamon Sleeping

Beach Eamon Sleeping

Second grade Eamon sleeping

I would never get away with this if he was even in fourth grade.







Camp Shalagh Began

So far we’re having a happenin’ summer. There have been parties and pools and outings. And the real camps have yet to begin. My new jobs as cruise director and camp counselor are cramping my post deliveries. I’m doing pretty well at everything else but.

This past week, my life-long friend and soul-sister Sarah and her son Charlie came to visit us. Camp Shalagh began. Sarah and I met over forty years ago when I fell off her pier near Annapolis, MD, and busted my lip open. We journeyed to her old house to see this place and took our kids.

Rock Stars

Lace cap hydrangea and lady roses

Her son is slightly older than my son so he had to put up with a little shadowing. I’d brought a sacrifice to the alter of friendship and it had been accepted. They played on the playground she did when she was little. We had lunch at the Double T diner. We all got along despite the attempted whining on their part. We just wined later.

We enjoyed lots of hours on my back porch in the beautiful weather chatting and sipping Pinot Grigio. Our kids caught fireflies, talked about Greek mythology, hit golf balls at the house, played rock star in the garage, and threw rocks in the mud of the low tide river. We chilled, grilled, and enjoyed the visit. Because that’s what vacationing and summer is all about. Being not doing.

Huge thanks to Sarah for the forethought of the visit and setting a spell with me and mine. Calendars have also been synchronized for the rest of the summer’s fun including a Williamsburg trip and a beach trip. I’m setting it in place and then enjoying the ride. Next year, I’ll make sure to have my posts stockpiled for you amusement. Enjoy the pictures and your Fourth of July.

Chillin’ at the art gallery


Me and Him

I happened on a blogger’s post about her son empty nesting her. Off to college he went. And she couldn’t believe how quickly the time had gone by. When I had my son, so many people wanted to warn me about the speediness of it all. A bit like the youth is wasted on the young speech at that point. There’s no perspective until it’s earned.

I offered her reference to the Kahlil Gibran poem about children and mothers being like arrows and bows. The bow can not go with the arrow. Never could. Great piece about the nature of the letting go  from the get go of parenting. Embodies everything I aspire to remember as a mother.

I had my child because I wanted a child with the man I loved. Some women may have children because they need purpose. Some women are such natural mothers, it is their purpose. Some feel they should want it and there’s something there they’ll discover. Insert your reasons here.

All of us mothers will comprehend on some level that we must let them go at some point, whether we want to or not. Recently, my child has begun making his circles wider. I know when I call him and he does not answer, he actually is close by. But it’s this hide and seek I can feel coming on as he seeks to find himself away from me. And there’s a similar search going on for me as well.

I have spent the past couple years finally giving myself over to my passions. Tentatively, at first, and now with more and more gusto. Writing and playing and the blog is a means to show myself and talents finally. Proof I exist separately. These are my life’s gifts and my life’s goals. And my beautiful smart son is definitely a gift and a goal too but not my sole purpose.

When I am satisfied enough with my “soul” amusement, I can spend quality time with my son and be mostly present. I notice the difference and so does he. So making myself a priority pays off for everyone.

Yes, our circles overlap. And when I take care of my separate part of the circle, our overlap has more meaning. That also means that he’s got a part of his circle that I will not be a part of. As it should be. Like when time comes for high school locker talk, I want no part of it anyway. Any and all talk of nightly geysers or base running with girls, I told the husband that’s all his. Unless my son wants to talk while I’m getting a pedicure, then I’m all ears.

When I Grow Up

Last week, I was immensely privileged to be involved in something I not only loved doing, but loved myself while engaged. I challenged myself and garnered self-esteem from the success of my endeavor, as well as plenty of kudos from a lot of people. I felt happily and blissfully at home within myself. It felt like the high of falling in love. I can’t wait to feel that again. And this feeling belonged to me, a gift from myself.

I vaguely remember attending parties in my twenties, where I may or may not have enjoyed myself, when someone attempted to make conversation and asked, “So, what do you do for a living?” Stunned and overcome with shame and queasiness, I was forced to share my shameful truth. I was a waitress or a maid or a receptionist or a bartender. Hoping to lure them away from my truth, I would probably redirect the conversation. My untold truth was that I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. The expiration date on my childhood had come and gone and I’d spoiled while waiting to be purposed.


My wish for every child and/or teen is for them to find an activity in which they like themselves while engaged. If you do something you like to do, you may develop friendships, mentors, and self-esteem. People like to be with people who like themselves. My teen self based my self-esteem and power on my sex appeal. If I could prove my desirability, I had power. I didn’t need no stinking mentor. I was alone and I liked it that way.

I spent six years in a university to land a job in my field of choice only to discover my chosen field was full of egomaniacal jack-#*@es. This was bad news for nice little me. I was ashamed my college education seemed a waste. After receiving my BS, I still supported myself with restaurant jobs and never pursued any involvement in activities I loved, like writing or art. I didn’t want to mess my dreams up too. They were safe as long as I didn’t touch them.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Somewhere I read a quote that said life is what happens while you’re aspiring to other things. My life took a left when I said adios to the manifestation of my critical parent in husband form. It took another hard right when I needed a shoulder operation and the doc said no more waitressing. In new mental and physical places, far away from everything I’d ever known, I began renovating myself and the old house I’d bought with my second husband. I worked toward a place I had never been but knew existed; a safe and happy place to play and love being me.

Gradually I cleared the clutter from my brain and my space. I stripped away the dysfunctional relationships and the addictive behaviors, and I finally arrived in that safer calmer place. I discovered what I really loved to do. And I sort of I liked myself while I was doing it. If you had met me back in those promiscuous teen days, with my Farrah hair, tight black T-shirt, and attitude, you’d never guess I’d end up here in an urban town decorating, designing, cooking, gardening, and entertaining too. This is the real me.

I have found a place where my brain is really happy. My recent opportunity and challenge was a chance to assist the fund-raising committee for the church’s annual auction event. Immediately, I was designing the tablescapes, colors, installations, lights, and florals in my head. Mostly created with stuff I had or borrowed, people donated, or what I bought on super sale, I created a fabulous event space. With more than a little help from my husband’s lighting company, the ambiance was over the top.I think design and aesthetic beauty have an undeniable impact on our outlooks and psyches. The auction raised more money than it ever had before. The community was very appreciative.

I now know I should have gotten my college degree in either design or writing. However, I will continue offering my design help to people in need because it’s about the playing, not the money. Although making some cash wouldn’t be a bad thing. If you took me back to that party in my twenties but asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would now say, “I hope I want to be me when I grow up.”

(This was first published on Divine Caroline in October of 2009. I’ve revised it slightly to republish as the special event this year, featuring my inspirational event design, was held last night. And again, I felt the same rush.)

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