Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dear Jason

I know you know that I am not a huge fan of Christmas. The stress of the season really gets to me and I often pull my ostrich card to hide from the world. This year feels so special. Hunting out and finding the perfect things to brighten your morning, having your mom plan this whole day around us, baking treats for your friends at work -- all of it, is so amazing. I know you keep asking me what I would like for Christmas, but you need to know that THIS is exactly what I want. Everyday of this year that I have had the opportunity to spend with you has been amazing. I feel so blessed to have you in my life, more than I could even say.

Happy first real Christmas together Rainman. I love you and am excited for all of the Christmases of OUR future. You're my favorite.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Tips from Santa's Little Helper

The Children's Christmas Party for my workplaces'employees' families was held last Saturday. Our corporate office was transformed into a winter wonderland and each boardroom was set up into a different activity station. One of those stations was a place to write and "mail" a letter to Santa complete with your wish list.

Santa and Mrs. Claus made a stop (side note: why doesn't she have a first name? It's 2011 people!) and took the letters back to the North Pole with them to peruse over milk and cookies, in between preparing for the big sleigh ride.

This morning, all of the letters written to Santa were read and each letter generated a handwritten responding letter from the Big Guy himself (AKA the group of ghost writers working on his behalf).

Here are some tips I have for parents who help their kids write these sort of things:

1)Make sure you include your full address, so a response can be sent back. I get that we tell kids to behave and that Santa has the ability to know what you are up to when and where at all times so he should therefore already know your address. Maybe you could swing it that mail can only be delivered if there is a return address attached. A few kids didn't get responses today because of this. And that's unfortunate.

2)I am unable to guarantee to a kid that his wishlist will be fulfilled. So when the letter is only full of wants formatted in bullet points, I am not too sure what to write to the child to make it seem personal. I did swing a few different approaches (my favorite was for the child wishing for a light saber and I wrote to him about how I loved Star Wars and the Ewoks reminded me of the elves every time I watched the movies), but the kids I had the most fun responding to were the ones who actually asked me questions about the weather, how busy the elves and I were, what kind of cookies I would love to have left out, etc. etc. Those responses will probably spark more of the magic in those kids when they get them.

3)On that note, I also really appreciated the one and only child who hoped I would have a really nice break during New Years after all of the toys were delivered. He understood that "I" was working hard most of the year to make sure a lot of those wish lists were completed. And the kids that asked that toys get sent to less fortunate children showed me that parents out there were trying to showcase the true meaning of the season.

4)Finally, can you please stop telling your child to ask Santa for that new iPhone 4S or the new big screen television (HD) (for real, a child placed that in brackets to let me know that anything not HD would probably not be tolerated) or the millions of other electronics asked for. The legend is I have a toy shop up at the North Pole where I hire elves who can build toys.There is no electronics department and there is no Apple retail store. And if there was, it looks like more and more toys are going to be shipped to the Island of Misfit Toys because nobody wants them anymore.

I'm lucky that the letters I responded to were lighthearted and showed the innocence of childhood. I have heard sad stories from others that have donated time to respond to letters to Santa with requests from children wishing for less divorces, family violence, and the delivery of basic needs. Those are the kids that deserve what they are asking for the most. And I really do wish I could be Santa Claus to grant those wishes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Fading of the Bar Star

One thing I have learned as I am nearing my 30s is that the allure of the bar or night club is not as enticing. I spent most of my twenties speaker dancing, shooting back jager bombs, waking up with a headache in the morning. Showing my skin to the world in the hopes that it would set me apart from the other girls also showing their skin, dancing on speakers, shooting back jager shots and waking up with headaches.

As I get older, I am less focused on the "fun" that a drunken, dancing night out falsely promises and more focused on what I can do to better myself, be productive in the moment and secure the things I want for myself. I don't spend my weekends slinging drinks in stilettos while trying to maintain a conversation with boys over the cacophony of bass and cheap pop music. I spend my weekends enjoying a cold beer with my boyfriend while we cook dinner together, sipping coffee in the afternoons while reading and broadening my mind, meeting like-minded girlfriends for the occasional martini to motivate each other in our fields of choice. At the end of the weekend, I know that I have helped myself to grow and develop, and create new ideas and goals to help further me along in life. I am not waking up on Sunday mornings wishing for death, chasing the hair of the dog in the hopes of re-enacting the prior evening out. I waking up refreshed and renewed and ready to embrace the day.

With this self discovery, I have realized that there are two groups of friends in my life. Those that continue haunting the dark dance floors reminiscing about all of the best times they have ever had, but barely remember, and those that are growing up, focusing, and creating the life they intend to have. I realize that as I too start to make choices that will affect where I will be in 5, 10, 20 years, I have less and less in common with my bar-star friends. And although any break up of any relationship is hard, I don't miss those "glory" days and I don't feel the connection with those people that I thought I once had.

Maybe this is just another sign of growing up--the realization that now that I am not 20, I look ridiculous out partying with the kids. The realization that I would rather line up dinner party plans with our friends then line up shots with them. The realization that I am perceived as a stronger, more empowered woman with a clear head than with a drunken glaze in my eyes. The realization that just a hint of skin garners more attention then the skimpiest outfits. The realization that my life does not have to be set in a dance club. The realization that I actually enjoy not having to endure the monotony of a night club (because let's be honest, they really are all the same).

The stars shine so bright, but they're fading after dawn