Thursday, December 1, 2016

All I really want for Christmas

All I really want for Christmas
Originally published on December 10, 2013

Last February my pal, Satish, asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year.
"That's a long way off," I replied. 
"I know," he nodded. "But what do you want?"
"A boyfriend," I smiled.
He grinned, knowing how the subject of my singlehood often comes up with him and his little brother, Danta.  Both are perplexed that I'm as old as their Papa, but still on my own.
"Do you ever want to get married?" Satish asked.
"Maybe....but I want to practice first."
I let that conversation drift away and didn't really think about it much this past year.  Writing a new manuscript, teaching yoga, and keeping up with a new kitten has kept me focused and busy.  Now that the holidays have rolled around again, I'm reminded how much our culture focuses on Christmas as a gateway to engagements, to "Baby's first holiday," to all things family related. 
When I was younger, a mild depression would set in around Thanksgiving and hover over every part of the season.  Media reminded me again and again that I didn't have what was typical...normal...desirable.  Impressionable and unable to separate the advertisements from reality, I would boost my confidence by telling myself, "Next year you'll have year you'll have what you really want.  Next year."
Since then, a couple of decades have passed and all of those "next years" have evolved into something completely different.  Now I appreciate the holiday season as a time to decorate for the many yoga students and friends who pass in and out of my home.  I make nearly all of the gifts I give and enjoy watching excited faces try on handwarmers and socks and hats.  I play Holiday Bingo and practice fun seasonal yoga poses with my kids (candy cane, reindeer, and chimney, just to name a few) and delight in watching them make up their own renditions of Santa's sleigh and Jingle Bells. 
I've made peace with the fact that my life is as it is meant to and always.  And while as a single woman, I don't have a family of my own, I do have the time and space to choose a different way of enjoying the season.  No one asks me what I want for Christmas and to be honest, there's nothing missing from my life...not really.
I'm reminded of the first Harry Potter book in which Harry spends part of his first Christmas at Hogwarts discovering the Mirror of Erised.  Dumbledore explains that the happiest person on earth would look into the mirror and see himself/herself exactly as he/she is.  It's taken a long time, but now when I see the reflection of my own life, I wouldn't change a thing.
But I'm still open to whatever unseen gifts the future will bring.

Last night Satish, Danta and I were discussing the fact that I no longer wear my wedding ring.  Danta asked me why I still wasn't married to a real person.  "You're older than my Papa," he explained.  "You should be married."
"You mean I should marry just any old guy even if I don't really like him...just to say I'm married?"
He pondered this.  "You mean what if he doesn't like your cats and he picks his nose and he yells and messes up your yoga room?"
"Well, everyone picks their nose now and then," I giggled.  "Just not in public."
Danta and Satish burst out laughing. 
"Yeah, but what about all that other meanie stuff?" Danta asked.
"Well, a guy like that wouldn't last two minutes in my house," I said.
"He wouldn't last two seconds!" Danta quickly replied.
Ah, that kid really knows me well.
"What kinds of things should I look for in a good husband then?" I asked the boys.
"Well, he should like kids," Danta said earnestly.
"And he should be honest," Satish nodded.
"And be kind," said Danta.
"And be generous," echoed Satish.
"And he should be really peaceful," Danta smiled. 
"Wow...those are really good qualities," I smiled.  "You guys will have to pray that someone like that is sent my way...and if it's meant to will be."
"We will," Satish promised. 
         Earlier this morning I was pondering their list and realized these are the things I really want for Christmas...not necessarily in a man, but to embody within myself.  To be playful with children.  To be honest and kind and generous.  To live in peace.  How wonderful to know that all I really want this holiday season can't be found beneath my Christmas tree...but already lives inside my heart.