She actually left the home list next to the TV, and every time a commercial came on with a toy she wanted, she wrote it on the list. That girl is resourceful.
I was surprised to find that she had added some things to her school list. Some of which made me chuckle. One touches on a subject I haven't really discussed with y'all. As soon as I read it my heart fell out of my chest.
- A hamster - I am not opposed to the thought of a hamster. Every kid should have one at least once, right. She's asked for one before because her older cousin has one. Kaeli agreed months ago to wait until she's older. We already have a very needy dog. Cleaning out a hamster cage is not something I want to add to the list.
- A brother - Um. Yeah. I had to ask her about this one. She explained by saying that she doesn't want just any brother. She wants my friend's son to be her brother. They were born 6 weeks apart and spent every moment together as babies and toddlers. They were even in the same day care classes. She was so heartbroken when he moved to Oklahoma. They talk on the phone sometimes, and my friend and I have discussed having them be pen pals since they've learned to write now.
- A shooting star - How absolutely adorable is that? I didn't think like that as a kid. She's so much more imaginative than I ever was. It's a little late for Christmas, but I'm thinking that naming a star after her might be a good birthday present this summer.
Then, (brace yourselves) tucked in at the bottom she wrote that she wanted her dad to be alive. It's hard even writing that sentence. I hadn't decided if I was going to approach this subject on my blog. It's not really fun, cheery Christmas time material. I rarely discuss it. I hate how everyone immediately feels sorry for me. My friend, Maria, is the only one I really talk about it with. Mostly because she is the only one who still asks questions about it. She's a psych major, and I think she is using me as a real life case study. Kaeli's dad passed away when she was 4. We weren't married (mostly because I was young and headstrong...my parents had recently divorced and marriage seemed pointless to me), but we lived together and talked about getting married when I finished college. She really never knew a life without both of us. Then, in the blink of an eye, everything changed.
I worry constantly about Kaeli. She was so young when the car accident happened. She was there when the police officer came to the door to tell us. She immediately knew something was wrong, but death is a hard concept to explain to a 4 1/2 year old. I answered every question. Confirmed every memory. I moved us to a new town so she could be closer to his parents. I started a whole new life for us. I think she has adjusted well. She's happy and flourishing, but as she gets older, it gets harder. I've been able to grieve and move forward, but she's still grasping the concept of death. I think she understands it better than most 6 year olds, though. When something like the Santa letter happens (and it does happen but more in the form of proclaiming that she doesn't have a dad when other kids ask her why they never see her dad), it just opens the wound. I worry that I'm not doing things right. That I'm not helping her enough. Should I talk about him to her more? Are there enough pictures? How does it affect her that her grandmother can't mention him without sobbing? Does her grandmother lean on her a little too much? She is just a kid, after all. Was it a bad idea to move Kaeli so close to them? Is she really happy, or do I just think she is happy? Am I too hard on her because it's just me now? Is she going to spend 20 years in therapy because her crazy mother is overprotective and handles everything wrong? It's just constant uncertainty.
Sorry to be a total Debbie Downer. This Santa letter seems to have shaken me more than I originally thought. Kids should seriously come with a manual. This parenting thing is tough!