By Samantha Evans
I realize that from the first time I spotted my mom filling our stockings from the top step of the stairs at the tender age of six that our relationship has been a bit rocky. (I did persevere for a few years, insisting that my mother must be wrong about your not liking shortbread cookies; turns out it was more than coincidence that she didn’t either). I’m sorry that I snubbed you when you dropped by the mall for photo-ops and intimate discussions of lists; I was afraid to show you public affection and risk being mocked by the cool but dumb kids in school. Maybe, I felt ambivalent towards you; doubted your ability to give me everything I wanted. What if I had whispered my desires and intimidated you with my demands? What if you had deemed me too naughty and I was left sitting on your lap, disappointed, while all the other kids laughed? I’m writing after all these years to say I’m sorry for not believing in you and your Christmas cheer. While I’m sure you have moved on to warm the hearts of other little girls, the nice ones who run to see you in the mall, here is my list, compiled over the past few years:
10. The sober ability to belt out karaoke tunes so I can finally realize my dream of serenading a crowd/expressing my emotions via R.Kelly’s ‘Ignition’ (the remix goddamnit!) without being escorted off stage by a bouncer.
9. Please grant me hindsight in those moments when Crazy gets in, and to the better of me, making for very awkward and painful mornings of realization.
8. Should 9 prove to be too difficult, maybe you could just erase the memory of these incidents from everyone they may hurt?
7. A life-long supply of premium vodka and Starbucks beverages. Could you possibly rig a contest so that I could win these and share with deserving friends? I promise not to consume the two together should more research prove the caffeine-alcohol combo to be bad (and not in that bad in a good way).
6. A perpetual feeling of being in love (but only if this can be achieved without the inevitable boredom/disappointment/sledgehammer to the heart).
5. A perfect manicure forever and ever, amen. (I love you Randy Travis). At the very least, indestructibly strong nails that allow me to do things like open pop tabs (an act that presently makes me squirm with envy).
4. While I believe in embracing my experiences, perhaps you could reduce mine to a level that does not have me toppling from my chair in a rowdy round of Never Have I Ever?
3. Let me enter my mother’s closet for the umpteenth time to discover hidden vintage pieces like that Ports International-turned-1961 wool sweater she bestowed upon me.
2. Please take back every gift I have ever received but didn’t fully appreciate. In their place, I ask that you bring my family closer so that we meet more than once a year and on these occasions, talk freely about something besides whether the Swedish meatballs may or may not pass as homemade.
1. Make sure I don’t take what I have for granted: a dysfunctional but caring family, independent yet loyal friends, the ability to learn from my mistakes (even if I don’t always choose to do so) and as the drunk teen who deemed me ‘pretty sexy’ on the subway would say, a past full of GFT (that’s ‘good fucking times’ in slurred teen-speak). And they were pretty good, weren’t they?