Welcome, Mamma Crew, to another chaotic, exciting but beautiful day of an older mom like you!
So, if you are not aware of it, if you are new to this, I’m fifty-four years old. Fifty-four. And you know what? I believe in Santa Claus. I do! I absolutely believe in Santa Claus! It doesn’t matter that I come from an abusive home in which, typically, Christmas was ruined by screams and tears. It doesn’t even matter that in most years, there were no gifts under the Christmas tree; if there was a Christmas tree. Or that when the Christmas tree came into my home, it usually meant an argument between my mother and my father.
None of those things matter! It doesn’t matter that now, I can get as many Christmas trees as I want. And I’m terrible. You know what? I buy them on sale after Christmas. I have pink, blue, white, artificial, natural trees. There was one year where every single room in my house had a Christmas tree.
I love Santa Claus, and I believe in Santa Claus with all of my heart. Why? Because I believe in the goodness of humanity. In the perseverance of humanity. In people’s ability to sacrifice for others, and the inherent desire of people to be better. Even my daddy at his worse, okay? When he was ruining Christmas. When everything was falling apart, he tried every year; it didn’t matter if he failed (which he often did). It mattered that he tried.
Now the cynics out there tell me it’s ridiculous to believe in Santa Claus because, basically, people are only kind to each other in December, or they’re only kind to each other on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. To what I say, bullcrap! That is not true. It’s not true. It is the one time of the year when the news is willing to put up all the nice things that people do for one another, but it isn’t the only time that people do these kinds of things for each other, okay? It isn’t.
You know, I remember when I was younger (I still had good knees), and I delivered food for people who had full-blown AIDS, okay? And this was when AIDS was still very scary, and I used to do these meal deliveries. And one day, my sister, despite all of her fears, allowed me to take my nephew. He was nine, twelve at that time. I don’t remember. He was very young. And she was so scared. AIDS was so scary back then. But she let me do this, and I cannot tell you what a joyous occasion it was for ninety percent of the people in my route to have a child come in, delivering their food, saying hello—not being afraid of them—just, that little bit of human kindness.
The little bit of bravery that my sister had made people so happy. My sister lived out of state at that time. So, I only took my nephew a couple of times with me. He was on vacation, staying in my home. But the people in my route spoke about that for years, how much they enjoyed that—just that little moment of my sister being brave. It meant a lot to these people.
Or my friend who’s a social worker. I can’t tell you the number of times that this woman has taken money out of her pocket, and she’s purchased diapers, formula, clothes. And here’s the thing, the state should be providing these things, okay? The state should be providing these supplies. They have been removed because of severe abuse or neglect, and these children are going to have nothing. And social workers do not make a lot of money. I don’t have to tell you this. You can just go look it up on the internet.
And year after year, this woman, out of the kindness of her heart, provided meals, clothing for these children. Hugs and love even though they have scabies and lice and infections. And let me tell you about this poor woman in hugging these children and taking care of these children, she’s got scabies, pinworms, lice, and she’s taken them home! And yet, her family always opens their homes to anyone in need. She’s always reaching out to people saying, “Hey, if you need a shoulder to cry on; if you need someone to laugh with, here I am.” That’s a gift. That is an incredible gift.
Or after our home was ravaged by a hurricane, and we had just put our home in Florida on the market and sent all of our furniture, everything to the Caribbean, right? And we get hit with Maria, and our home is in tatters. I mean, there were waterfalls inside our home. It’s taken us all this time to repair the multiple, extensive damage that occurred. And we arrived in Florida at a completely empty home. Nothing except the rags. No beds, no cutlery, nothing!
And the small community that we lived in, my goodness, the kindness! People came over and helped us assemble IKEA furniture. People brought dishes. They brought spoons, pots, pans, food. They offered to take care of our kids so that we could go make purchases. They gave to us—some of these people were complete strangers, and they gave of themselves.
Or what about my husband, who spent hours upon hours finding generators for people that were on the island without electricity that had medical needs; that had injuries that couldn’t leave the island. Or his friend who had donated so much money, got a private flight to help people who needed to get off the island; who donated supplies. Our friends in Fort Lauderdale, okay, who we called upon at the last minute when we found out that we couldn’t get these people out of the island and a private plane unless we had a private plane full of supplies. In twenty-four hours, twenty-four hours! This very generous couple not only found the supplies to fill the plane, but they took a refugee family into their home, and when out and got them the basic needs because they left with nothing.
In case you think it only happens in cases of emergency, it doesn’t! My beautiful, wonderful hairdresser and his spouse, they take care of nine elderly families every day. I mean, this guy is the funniest thing, the most wonderful person. And he works all day from very early to very late, and then he and his partners cook all of these meals, and they deliver them to all these elderly people—year after year! They take people to doctor’s appointments. They help them out when they’re having their cancer crises, and so much more! And I can continue to give you examples after example.
And I’m not a special person. There’s nothing special about me other than I take the time to notice. I do. Despite my chaotic life, my four kids are running around, causing all kinds of mayhem. I take the time to notice all the wonderful things that people do for others every day. And to me, that’s the best of humanity. And to me, when we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating the best in humanity. Despite the many mistakes that we made, despite the fact that some people still commit some of the worst crimes, and there’s still discrimination, and there’s still war. Even in all of that, there’s still goodness in people. There’s still people out there helping each other selflessly.
There’s people out there. Oh my goodness, there are so many Santa helpers baking cookies. I remember my one student, okay, every Christmas she and her family bake so many cookies, they turn into a bakery. And they go, and they give it. My girls used to be so excited when they lived in Alpena because they knew she would send these cookies their way every Christmas. They were fabulous! And it wasn’t just one flavor. I mean, this was an assortment of cookies! There’s all this kindness and willingness to do for others.
The other day, I read about a man in India who went to the beach and saw that the beach was littered with trash. And instead of complaining about, instead of being down about it, he picked up the trash. Some people found out about it, and they decided to help him. And then more people decided to help him. And this beach, which used to be a horrible dump of trash, has become an absolutely gorgeous beach that families can enjoy. That’s Santa, doing for others.
And what about the people who have the means and go out there despite their chaotic schedule, their children creating mayhem, their jobs, their elderly parents, and taking the time to be Santa’s helpers by cooking a meal for someone for the holidays. By going to Target or Toys R Us, going someplace, going shopping on Amazon to make sure that Santa has enough toys for all the kids that should have a gift. Should, and may not because of their circumstances.
So, I’m going to do something to this episode that I’ve never done before, and I’m gonna dedicate it to Dora, okay? This episode came about because Dora does not believe in Santa Claus, okay? Every year since she became a member of our family, she’s been telling the twins there is no Santa Claus, and the twins refused. Yup, my thirteen-year-olds refused not to believe. I taught them well! And I’m hoping to convert my Dora.
So, she doesn’t believe, she comes from a different experience. So, despite the fact that she has had wonderful Christmases all her life, somewhere along the line told her that there was no Santa Claus. The lie of all lies! And I think this makes her feel grown-up. Okay. But I don’t agree with that. I don’t agree with that. That is not being grown-up.
Being a grown-up is understanding that children are entitled to believe in magic. Being a grown-up is helping to be Santa’s helper and helping him keep that magic alive. Helping him not just in December, not just on the twenty-fourth or the twenty-fifth, but throughout the year. Helping him spread joy, helping him spread kindness. Helping him find gifts for those that need it: be it a meal, a much-needed hug, a new toy, a used toy, a kind word. Santa is the best of humanity. It is the best that humanity has to give to one another. I really believe he represents that. I really believe that we should celebrate our ability to help one another and create magic for one another, our ability to persist despite all of the negativity out there.
And you know what? On my fan page, one of the things that I was doing was posting an inspirational quote of the day. I’m not going to do that anymore. What I’m going to do is, for the rest of the year, I’m going to post a positive piece of news. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m gonna help my followers see that despite what the nasty news has to say, where everything that bleeds leads, where they point out the worst in humanity, despite all of that, there is still a lot of kindness and love and generosity in this world. That’s gonna be my emphasis from now on.
So, should you believe in Santa Claus? I have no idea. We all have different beliefs. But I certainly hope I can convert Dora to our family’s culture. A culture in which magic is still alive and thriving— the magic of childhood!
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