As we near the end of this emotionally-trying year, nothing is more real to me than the fact that we humans need each other. With that in mind (along with a couple of other fresh digs to my sensitivities), I’ve conjured my wish list for this, the season of gratitude and new beginnings.
- Acknowledgement of my contributions
- Respect for my sacrifices
- A simple “thank you” or two
- The opportunity to apologize to those who are upset with me
- Small reminders to show that I have not chosen this life in vain
You may see fit to question, in observance of this short list, my reasoning for the items on my list. How am I not asking for a week’s vacation from life or a full-stack spa day? Shouldn’t I be wishing for a new dishwasher or necklace? Why are you using this platform to ask for these things?
In an attempt to give some well-meaned response, I’ll instead regale you with a statement:
The child for whom I have chosen to live is an absolute wonder. I do not make that statement lightly – I have knowingly and willfully chosen to dedicate my life to him. He is, without a doubt, worthy of every sacrifice of sanity, every moment of doubt, and every question of morality. I am proud to be mistaken as his biological mother, every single time it happens, because I consider myself to be so much more than that.
I did not birth this miracle, nor did I name him or hold him in the first moments of his life. I did not feed him his first bottle, watch his first steps, or hear his first words. But very soon after those important moments occurred for him, another one did – I arrived. And every day since, he has invited me to stay in his life.
I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am not alone in thinking – nay, in KNOWING – that my presence in this dear child’s short life has been nothing short of life-altering, both for him and for me. And I am willing to acknowledge that it has not always been easy. In fact, every step that we’ve taken together as a family has been the hardest step of my life.
But I know, both deep in my guts and swirling high in the universe, that this is how it is supposed to be. This is how it should be. This is how it will be. And I am grateful, forever, for the challenge that I have chosen to face. It has made me stronger, more patient, and ever open-hearted.I have been humbled and profoundly changed by the highs and lows of these last three years. With that, I commit to this life, and to this little nugget of pure love, for as long as he’ll have me.
There are plenty of folks in this big ol’ world who make mistakes – from famous entertainers to the leaders of the free world to MVPs to CEOs to alllll the rest of us. Of all the things I’ve learned in my relatively short time on this planet, the most consistent is this: all of those people – including you and me – are just as deserving of the kind of respect and acknowledgement that I’m wishing for during this season.
Despite our societal incapacity for offering apologies and forgiveness, isn’t that what we all want and expect from those who we have wronged or feel wronged by?
To all those in the world who felt wronged by me this year:
I’m sorry. I’m sorry for running that red light last night and I’m sorry for losing touch with people I care about and I’m sorry for any hurt that I’ve caused, knowingly or unknowingly. I’m sorry for yelling and fighting and trying to manipulate the conversation. My intention is never to upset or blame – my intention is always to inform and to speak my truth. Despite my intention, I am sorry.
And to all those in the world who I’ve felt wronged by this year:
I forgive you. I forgive the hurt and I forgive the lies and I forgive the confusion and pain. I forgive you for not knowing what you’re doing. I forgive you for needing more and different than this because I know that, were I in your shoes, my perspective would be yours instead of my own. And, despite myself and everyone else, I do acknowledge that I do not (and can not) know or understand everything that this world (and the people in it) is, does, or will be.
We’re all apt to feel a little raw right now, for reasons both universal and personal. 2016 has been a tough year for so many of us, and I hope we can come to terms with that. Our similarities are far more vast than our differences, so my wish list for this holiday season is a list for all of us, too.
May we all be acknowledged for our triumphs and respected for our sacrifices. May we all be shown the gratitude that we feel is due. May we all learn to apologize for our wrong-doings. May we all garner the strength to continue choosing the lives we’ve created for ourselves and to continue to better ourselves day by day.