Dear Santa,

I know I’m a little old to be writing, but my kids sent you letters full of hope for toys tonight. As a mother, I want different gifts for them, ones that can’t really be wrapped up. Could I add my own wishes for them to the list? You see, my heart is full of hope, too. Hope for their hearts and their future. Hope for those they touch through the years. Hope for their joy.

Please help my children to know themselves – not their favorite colors, foods, or TV shows but who they are at the core. Help them embrace the whole reality of what they hold inside. Let them love the good and use it to better the world around them. Teach them to acknowledge what needs work then how to refine it. Through all of this, I hope they find a balance between stunning confidence and realistic humility in order to walk a beautiful path through this life.

I ask you to give my kids the gift of appreciating that same complexity in others. I want them to see the heart of people they meet, not the clothes, the attitude, or the lifestyle, but who they are at the core. Tune their ears to hear the hurt behind anger, the fear behind mocking, and the worry behind impatience. Teach them to speak to what lies beneath in their responses, so they can change the world one person at a time. My hope is that this understanding of others will move them to compassion for those who are in need and incite anger towards injustice.

Please open the eyes of my children to the beauty of this world. Let the blue of the sky, the gold of a sunset, the twinkle of a star always touch a part of their spirit. Remind them with the rhythms of an unknown music, the scent of a new food, the cadence of another language that we are all unique. Show them with a smile, a hug, a baby’s coo that we are all connected.

I think I speak for all mothers when I request, above all, that our children understand that they are loved – truly, completely, and unconditionally loved.

It’s a lot to ask, I know. These things are especially complicated to wrap. But, in the quiet of midnight as you fly over our rooftops, you could just slip it into their sweet hearts. You’ll have this mother’s gratitude.

With the magic of Christmas,

A Hopeful Mom