The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

My Grown-Up Christmas List

When it comes to the holiday season, I’m neither a Scrooge nor a fanatic. I enjoy the season for a multitude of reasons. And no, I don’t agree with most people about the “reason for the season,” and that’s O.K. History doesn’t agree with them either, but that’s O.K. too. Human beings have have celebrations and ceremonies around this time of year practically since the beginnings of civilization. It’s meanings are old enough and broad enough for all of us to lay some claim to it.

Besides, “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill toward men” sound like  good ideas to me, after having my head in national these last couple of years. It’s enough to make anyone say “Bah! Humbug!” But recently I heard a familiar holiday song on the radio, and it kinda brought me back to myself.

I was coming home from the drugstore, having gone there on an errand after the kids had gone to bed. As I pulled into the driveway, Natalie Cole’s recording of “My Grown-Up Christmas List” began playing on the radio.

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I actually sat in the car and listened to the whole thing before going inside. I’m sure my husband heard me pull up and wondered what was the matter that I wasn’t getting out of the car, but I just wanted listen to the song and absorb the lyrics. I even found myself singing along with the chorus (though I can’t say I remember ever learning the song).

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Every man would have a friend
That right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

There are times lately when I believe that if someone could guarantee all of the above, I wouldn’t ask for anything else. In my more optimistic moments, I even entertain the thought that maybe most people feel that way this time of year, if only for a fleeting moment or two. Then we go back to being grown-ups.

I turned the radio off after the song finished, and sat in the car for another minute, making my own version of the wish in its lyrics, then I went inside.

I mentioned before that Parker likes me to sing to him at bedtime, just before turning out the lights, so I usually sing a couple of songs for him. (Sometimes, just one, if I’m reading something with him and he wants to read a little longer.) I do the same thing with Dylan now — but with him I always finish with a medley of “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” ever since he spontaneously sang both at bedtime, complete with hand movements.

This time of year, Parker always asks for holiday songs, and I oblige. Occasionally, I’ll introduce a new song to see if he likes it. I don’t know how much he’ll like this one. At eight years old, he tends to prefer songs that include Santa, reindeer, and talking snowmen.

But I may try to introduce it tonight. He’s a bright eight-year-old, and often surprisingly thoughtful. So, he may “get it,” and even like it. And even if he doesn’t, at least I get to share it with him.

And to make that wish again.

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