this holiday (for me) is always so wrapped up in anxiety and longing. i long for the feelings, as a child, that this time of year always aroused in me. there are glimpses: white cotton balls of snow falling on freshly bought christmas presents. listening to charlie brown album while decorating the mantle with garland and pine cones. hanging the christmas/music box ball that was my mother's. hanging the beautiful and elaborate stocking she needle pointed for me.
but i always have this low grade anxiety throughout this time. as if my rockwell christmas will never be attained again.
but this year, my friend theknowall tuned me onto the the santa project at the new york city post office. she picked up a letter for me from a young girl from brooklyn. this was her letter:
Hi! I'm X, I live with my mom and grandma. My mom works in a factory, so she can't buy no present. I'm 9 years old and in fourth grade, I'm a nice girl and student. I need cloth and shoes. My cloth size is L-14 and shoes 4. Please could you give me something. bye I hope you have a merry christmas and a happy newyear.
So, i went out to buy "cloth" and toys and a gift certificate for shoes. wrapped them all and put in a big box which i delivered to the brooklyn post office yesterday, sent priority so it would get there by tuesday. then today i read this.
not sure what to think. except i guess i kind of thought that this sort of thing could possibly happen when i was wrapping the present. it just seems so ugly and so deeply sad. there are thousands of kids out there who sent a letter in good faith and will now be disappointed. i just started crying reading that article. i now realize that this holiday is not about achieving some kind of rockwell-ian mood. it is about giving. and loving.