Christmas Ain't Over Yet

Bluntly put, these are the unpleasant things that have taken place this past week:

1. I was denied a private loan once again. The question of whether or not I will be attending university this coming semester is in question. At this time, I don't know how I am going to pay for school. I could go into details about how my immediate family is unable to assist me, and how my extended family refuses to, but I don't wish to sound prude or desperate (even though I am).

2. For three days, my mother and I were snowed in. We had yet another blizzard in this part of the country, which pretty much grounded everyone for a few days over Christmas. Many people were without power due to the amount of ice we received, and many more were snowed in until yesterday. At the moment, this is the most snow (in the month of December) the Omaha metro area has seen in more than 60 years. Currently, there is about two feet of snow on the ground; and that isn't counting the six-foot-plus drifts.

3. My mother and I spent Christmas alone at the house, watching T.V.

4. I was not invited to my dad's family Christmas.



Now, on the contrary, these are the good things that have happened (or will happen) this week:

1. A. is arriving today; in a few hours, to be exact! I am, to say the least, very excited to see him, and am incredibly happy that he will be spending New Year's here, with my family.

2. New Year's Eve will be fun, of course, but the subsequent two days will also be wonderful. My mom's family Christmas is the first of the year, and my immediate family will have ours the following day, on the second.

3. I have a time capsule that I get to open this year. I made it when I was nine years old.

4. I'm thinking of how I can pay for school; examining my possibilities.

5. I got a free lunch today. It was delicious.

6. I took some pictures of my house when the storm started, and have begun editing them. They are the ones that I am sharing in this post, albeit it is a day late.


the front yard tree






garage window


my footprint in the snow




Christmas Eve

As I type this, it is currently 1:45 in the morning, Christmas Eve. Yesterday--the 23rd of December--was icy, to say the least. Here in the Omaha metro area, the weather has been all that anyone can talk about.

Even the other day, as I stood in line at Wal-Mart, a short, eighty-year-old woman whose physicality reminded me of my grandmother (before she died).

"My daughter lives out in Newton, you see," she said. "That's on the other side of Des Moines."

"Yes," I agreed. "I've been through there quite a few times."

The woman nodded. "Well, she was going to come on our for Christmas, but I told her not to worry, given the weather." She shrunk into herself a bit. "I told her it wouldn't be safe, and that she should stay home. There will always be another day." She added the last sentence knowingly, but not happily.

I smiled understandably, my "big heart" compassionately sympathizing with this elderly stranger who donned brown, over-sized glasses upon her nose. I tried to hold up my end of the conversation by bringing up a blizzard that she was sure to remember.

"Well, this was before I was born, but my brother was little; sometime in the early 80s. Anyway, it was so cold and so snowy and windy and terrible that, even though they weren't going to have Christmas, my parents rode the tractor the few miles into town just to make it."

The woman smiled as her wrinkled hands carefully set baking soda and creamer on the counter. "That had to been '83," she said.

I laughed. "Yep! That was it; my brother would have been three!"

She shook her head at the memory. "That was terrible, that year," she said. "So much wind." She shivered. "They say there is going to be a lot of ice this time around, too. I really hope that we don't lose power."

"Well, hopefully everything will be all right," I remarked, pulling my bags from the gyral sack rotary. Checking to make sure that I had everything I purchased, I leaned over to the woman, who was in the middle of buying her last-minute goods. "You have a Merry Christmas," I said heartily. "Stay warm!"

"And you as well!" she exclaimed, pulling her checkbook out of her wallet. "Merry Christmas."

Keeping to both the elderly woman's word (as well as the weathermen's), the ice arrived Tuesday evening, coating trees and power lines in its stiff frigidness. It rained nearly all day, causing some of the snow to turn to slush. Today, as the slush re-freezes, it will be encased in another layer of ice that will soon be buried underneath (supposedly) an additional 10-14 inches of snow. (At the moment, we already have more than a foot on the ground.)

It should be interesting, to say the least. Along with countless others, I may have been dreaming of a "White Christmas." However, I am also among those who still wish to attend a Christmas Eve church service; there are so many that have been canceled due to weather.

A fourth of the "icicles of death" hanging from the south side of our house.


Though it is three feet long, I still have to say...my neighbor's is bigger...






Christmas Eve Musings

Not even half an hour ago, I got off the phone with A., who--I'm guessing--forced himself to stay awake and wish me a "Merry Christmas Eve." Given that he is an hour ahead of Central Time, he had already been "celebrating" today for an hour by the time we were wrapping up our conversation.

One of the first things we discussed is my financial situation for next semester which--at the moment--is quite bleak. Bluntly put, I need money. To be more exact, I found out yesterday that I was denied yet another loan. To be exacter, I have no idea how I am going to pay for next semester's "tuition, fees, travel, and miscellaneous."

Our talk then turned more nostalgic. Though I asked him where "this was coming from," A. provided no answer as to why he suddenly announced that he wished he could go back in time.

"Why?" I asked, not quite sure what to expect for an answer.

Childhood was the answer; naive and simple childhood. Given what today is, I was transported to my own Christmas memories, especially the year when I was five.

We were living in the house prior to the one I reside in now, and, as I recall, it had been a "hard year." It was the year that I had asked my mom if we were going to be homeless. It was the one-year anniversary of my grandfather's death. It was the last Christmas spent in "the yellow house." Not having hardly any money to buy food or pay bills, I wasn't expecting too many gifts from my mother. However, I knew that I could always count on Santa Claus to bestow his gracious gifts upon me.

Sure enough--having woken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom--I quietly crept out of my room and into "the other room." The French doors were swung open, and my mom slumbered on the couch, which sufficed as her bed. In the light of the TV, I saw a large dollhouse, and several other Barbie components that I had wished for, including a swimming pool. In my white, full-length nightgown that, for several years, I designated as my Christmas Eve pajamas, I knelt next to my new toys, carefully stroking them with my index finger. Even in the near blackness, the shiny, bright pink of the "Barbie bathtub" shone in the blue shadows that flashed throughout the room. Breathlessly, I admired each new gift, anxiously awaiting the wee hours of the morning when I could actually play with them.

However, it wasn't Christmas that wasn't on A.'s mind. Rather, it was quite the opposite.

"I just wish I could go back to those times, you know?" he said evocatively. "I mean, looking back, things aren't the same anymore. The sunset doesn't seem quite as beautiful. The moon is not as big, and...there's not as many stars in the sky, even. It's just...looking back, as a child, the world had more color; more saturation, especially in the summer."

"I would agree," was my lame response. I followed through with an explanation of my long-time best friend, who--for thirteen years of school--was also my next-door neighbor. During the summers, we would--literally--spend all day, every day together, outside. It was wonderful; the barefooted freedom of tree-climbing and bike riding and snake-catching and softball and swing-sets and chalk drawings and fireflies. It was as if nothing less than infinite weariness would tear us from the husky glow of the summer sunset. Each day had provided an innocent and exciting adventure which, of course, stretched our imaginations and blackened our barefooted soles.

There were the Christmases, too; each year, faithfully on the 27th of December, one of us would call the other and invite the other one over. There was the year, for instance, that I received LEGO kits and we spent several hours reconstructing "LEGOville" on my bedroom floor. There was the year that we exchanged Beanie Babies and build cities out of cardboard boxes. There was the year that her room was being remodeled, and so we spent time in her makeshift bedroom, feeding her hermit crab and playing mancala. There was the year she and her younger sister received an N64, and we spent all day trying to perfect our Mario Kart skills. Subsequently, the next year I got an N64, and received lessons from her on how to expertly play Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

I could write an entire book on the history between she and I. I could write about how she and I would always don snowpants and conquer the mountains of chunky ice in the church parking lot next door. Or how we both had the training wheels taken off of our bikes on the same day. I could include all the inconsequential details, such as the day we edited each other's poetry on her porch and found that we were both equally jealous of each other's writing, or how--in tenth grade--we would avidly listen to Avril Lavigne and both claim that we had a deep connection to "My World."

What's interesting is that I can see her argument now; she really was that girl that wondered "where do I belong, forever?"

Six years later, we are still next-door neighbors. However, we rarely speak to each other; we have grown much too far apart, and both of us are very different from the seventeen-year-old selves that we parted from. Sometimes I still think of her poem, "Reflections upon Reflections," and feel guilty for wishing I could write something so resplendent. Sometimes I think back to our ten-year-old selves when we would play "Titanic" in my backyard and sing every major-motion picture song we knew.

I still look out of my bedroom window at times to catch a glimpse of her; I'm sure she notices. The room that was once her makeshift bedroom is the established computer/guest room, and we have caught each other's eyes through the blinds late at night. Just like Avril proclaims, we both "stay up late without sleeping." However, I'm sure we're each embedded in our own thoughts; she--with anything and everything I can't think of, and me--with the nostalgic memories that unfolded themselves with A.'s "things aren't the same anymore."

Christmas Shopping

I arrived home from the University of Iowa late Tuesday evening. On Wednesday, I mostly tried to unpack my belongings (to which I think about packing back up in about two weeks). Then, on Thursday, we went to town. Since I had been confined in my fourth-floor room with my car several miles away, I was unable to do any Christmas shopping. Since I didn't have too long until Christmas, she accompanied me into town to make my purchases.

Though we did visit the mall and several other stores, the first place we went to was the Old Market. Beautifully coated with a blanket of snow, the Old Market is spectacular in the winter, especially during Christmas. Vendors peddle fresh evergreen wreaths while cellists brave the cold to entertain the passerby. The brick streets rumble beneath the cars' tires, and the horse-drawn carriages rocking-ly pass over them, their "sleigh bells jingling." The trees at 11th and Howard are bedecked in lights, and icicles hang from the ancient eaves constructed when the city was first built.

I love it; I cannot wait to spend New Year's Eve there.

However, during this trip to the Old Market, I was on a particular mission. Though it did not end being completely successful, my mom and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as we visited two vintage clothes shops (named "Retro" and "The Flying Worm" respectively), an antique store, and the renowned candy store on Howard Street. We also ventured through Tannenbaum, which is the infamous year-round Christmas store. (My mom had been searching for an olive wood nativity for me, but, alas, they were out of stock.)





The shared entrance to Retro and Joe's


Retro


Compared to this past summer, Retro did not have very many clothes.


The Bill Cosby/Christmas Sweater sale at The Flying Worm


That's my mom!


Rings (with European sizes) at The Flying Worm




Old Market Candy Shop (the animated raccoons atop the Jelly Bellies are a Christmas decorating tradition)




Journal 20

I want to let you all know that I am heading home today! I am incredibly excited to get back home and enjoy Christmas there with my mom. She is supposed to be arriving at my dorm in about an hour to help me finish packing up and moving out. (I suppose that means I should get out of my sweatpants and start packing...) Anyway, the main reason I mention this is because--when I get home--I probably won't have Internet access. Given that I will not be back to a computer until early January, it may be awhile until you hear from me again.

Anyway, this is the last journal that I wrote for acting class, and I thought I would put it up here, too. It was supposed to be a reflective journal that answered the question "There is a journey within every act, every scene, every moment. What has been your journey within this class?" I went a little abstract, but still delighted in reading it aloud to the class.

It’s Sunday morning, not yet 10:30, and I sit at my computer, typing. I’m in clothes that I have been wearing for two days, and the dishes from my last several meals sit encrusted together to my right, as I am too indolent to carry them the ten steps into the kitchen and place them in my too-small sink. I’m tired; I haven’t slept in three days. If I were to mix that with the anxiety of final exams and the disappointment and guilt that I have felt this past week in that large, blue mixing bowl I’m using for prop, I’m exhausted. And yet...I’m so close to finishing. I’m so close to being done with what I consider to be a huge academic waste of time. Even now, as I compose this journal, I wish I could write it differently. I wish I could do away with all of the “I,” “I,” “I,” selfish, first-person point of view. I am so conditioned to writing academically that I can’t analyze myself properly; I need to take on the role of the omniscient narrator in order to completely and accurately examine why I do the things I do. Furthermore, that third-person, that “epiphanal” viewpoint doesn’t get uncomfortable. It can say what it needs to said—make observations and discoveries that, if I were to say them, would make me feel belittled or inadequate. Rather, the subjective voice I give myself creates a story—one in which I finally don’t have to worry about characterization because, well, it’s already there.

Wrapped in a fleece blanket and perched on her computer chair, she dangerously leans over and reaches for her Acting folder that rests atop one of the three neatly-stacked piles of homework she has on the floor. She places the folder on her desk, casually opening it and ruffling through several pages of notebook paper. Though she can recall exactly what the page looks like, she wants to view it again; use it as a reference. There. She finds it, nestled between acting principles and performance histories. My stomach. Drawn during the first day of class, her stomach is an incredibly accurate depiction of all that has nestled within her mucosa, save for the changing semi-nutritional nourishment that is churned within. Butterflies. Anxiety. Pangs. Anger. Jealousy. The only sentiment that she left out is disappointment. It was one that, most likely, she did not recognize at the time. Either that, or she was too afraid to admit it. Too afraid because—like Antigone—she doesn’t want to be seen as vulnerable. She “kind of” knows that she can’t be perfect—can’t be strong—all the time (especially given the size of her heart), but...she’s still a perfectionist.

She thought that, maybe, one of the reasons she was at the University of Iowa this semester would be to learn humility. Admittedly, she might be on her way, given that she has slowly become accustomed to receiving more negative criticism. However, to be knocked off of that pedestal, it is going to take more than acting pointers and her first, in eight years, ‘B’ on an essay. She holds onto the belief that perfectionism is, in fact, both her strength and her weakness. It’s something that she wrote about in her senior reflection four years ago, acknowledging that is has been—and always will be—her greatest setback, as well as her greatest reason to aspire to be something more than everything else she considers to be “mediocre.”

She doesn’t know what she wants to be when she “grows up.” When people ask her, her response is often, “I’m not sure yet, because I know I will always change my mind.” An accurate observation; her chronic indecisiveness and sporadic impulsiveness always lead her into unpredictable and unexpected situations. However, she holds fast to the belief that “every opportunity is a learning experience,” and, in believing so, desperately searches for some meticulous point, a minute sentence or phrase or tidbit that she can absorb, reflect upon, and always remember. Sadly, this semester, only two of her classes provided such an opportunity. One, not-so-surprisingly, was Jewish-American Literature. The other, of course, was Acting. However, what she learned in Acting wasn’t necessarily something that she can apply directly to her own theatre experience. Moreover, what she found and decided to hold onto was something that can be examined and smiled upon every day, rather than only be applied to some specific aspect of only one of her passions. If I’m really motivated, if I really want something, then I’m unstoppable. That sentence is the only things she needs to remind herself; the only phrase that she can inwardly smile about when, upon being asked what “she wants to do,” she can truthfully and happily answer, “I want to live happily ever after.”

Straight No Chaser

Earlier this week, I braved the early-arriving blizzard to see Straight No Chaser, who performed at the Iowa Memorial Union. Having purchased a ticket more than a month ahead of time, I had been eager to go to the concert, but was unsure of whether or not I would have the time to, given that this past week has been "Hell Week." However, I went against my better judgment of bad weather and homework to attend the concert, which was two hours very well spent.

This picture was taken from Straight No Chaser's Facebook page. I can actually see myself. I am in the right-hand group of people, smack in the middle of the masses.


From the moment they walked out singing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," they enraptured us and, throughout the performance, always maintained a light-hearted, entertaining atmosphere. They laughed along with us as they joked about the weather, Kwanza, "White Chocolate," a 12-Step Program for basses wishing to sing tenor, and Chanukah (which happens to be today, and so I wish my Jewish friends a wonderful holiday).

Going through a set list that included Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours," "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Africa" by Men at Work, and "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," the men of Straight No Chaser surprised us all when, after intermission, they immediately broke into "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse.

My only actually "good" picture; pretty much everything is blurry, sadly.


Of course, it wouldn't have been a Straight No Chaser concert without their Christmas songs. Performing "Carol of the Bells," "Christmas Can Can," "Indiana Christmas," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," one of the highlights was performance of "We Three Kings" in 5-4 time.

Now, I'm not much of a musician at all, but I do know the difference between meters. However, when one of the members stepped up to explain what the group planned to do, the audience remained silent. Several people around me nodded their heads, but the majority frowned, befuddled.

"Wow," he said, laughing into the microphone. "I have never before
heard confusion."

And, just in case you want to listen to that specific song, I have provided a link to Straight No Chaser's website/blog.

Furthermore, here is a link to another spot on that same site; it is an animated video of "Christmas Can Can."

After the concert, I hung around in the lobby for several minutes, anxious to get autographs. Fellow acquaintances that also attended the concert also waited with me, all discussing the increasingly-nasty weather outside. Already it looked as if two inches had fallen in the time we had been indoors. However, we were soon in a line to receive autographs.

"Hi," I said cheerily, greeting the first of ten members of the group. "I hope you're enjoying your time here despite the weather."

He smiled. "Yeah, yeah! It was great; it was a lot of fun. Thanks for having us!"

He finished signing his name above his picture and passed the playbill down.

"When do you leave?" I asked, decidedly choosing to hold a conversation since the line wasn't advancing too far too fast.

"Uhh...tonight, actually."
"We go to Kansas." The guy next to him cut him off.

"Oh, jeez! So...you'll be driving INTO the storm!"

They laughed. "Hopefully we'll be fine."

Moving on down the line, I informed another member that originally attended Purdue University, which happens to be the rival school of Indiana University, where Straight No Chaser originated.

The guy currently signing my playbill immediately stopped and slammed his pen down. "I quit! Not for you!" He slid the playbill off the table toward me as the rest of us laughed.

"So sorry!" I exclaimed, bending down to pick up my book and handing it back.

As I neared the end of the line, my friend and I compared three of the members' identical ties, teasing them on their differing knots. Tyler Trepp, a fellow Iowan, was the last member to sign my playbill before wishing me a "good night."


My friends and I parted, and I began my slow trudge outside and up the Pentacrest to the nearest bus stop. Freezing, I inched my way up the hill in the snow, blinking the painful, pelting flakes from my eyes.

I smiled. It was worth it.

For those of you that don't immediately recognize the name Straight No Chaser, I reccommed that you check out this video. It became immensely popular on YouTube and is now their signature song. (At the concert I attended, they performed it as the first of a two-song encore.) It is also the song that I am "currently listening to."

I Wrote It My Way

My friend Lee and I established months ago that our Introduction to English class is a waste of time. As such, we decided to have a little fun (once again) while in lecture earlier this morning.

At the beginning of class, all of the approximately 200 people in lecture received a sheet on "Figurative Language," the back of which was splayed with numerous vocabulary words pertaining to poetry.

There was a large chunk of information blandly written on the front of the sheet, discussing how readers should become aware of an author's figurative language and how it exercises our imagination through the use of metaphors. (You know, basic "English stuff" that has already been exhausted in the three and a half years I have taken classes.)

Anyway, Lee and I decided to "rewrite" the paragraph. He grabbed a pen from his bag, and I reached for the pencil behind my ear. Together, we collaborated; we edited out full sentences, disregarded certain phrases, and picked out specific words to keep until, in the end, we had formed one extensive, complicated sentence:

Images that engage a writer generate lamb's wool with hair likened to the harmony of a creation of the child's divine God of a metaphor.

(That's from about 200 or so words of text that describe William Blake's poem "The Lamb.")


Below the newly-mutilated paragraph were excerpts from various poems, movies, and books. We, of course, came up with different variations, combining each of the works together.


Simile: A direct, explicit comparison of one thing to another, and usually using the words "like" or "as" to draw the connection.

Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper.--Elizabeth Bishop, "The Fish"

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests, snug as a gun. --Seamus Heaney, "Digging"

But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy. -- Theodore Roethke, "My Papa's Waltz"

Metaphor: One thing pictured as if it were something else, suggesting a likeness or analogy between them.

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. --Psalm 23

they brows an infant crown --William Blake "A Cradle Song"

Life is like a box of chocolates. --Forrest Gump


The final result?

Ancient wallpaper, snug as a gun
Hung on like death:
Waltzing between
The shepherd; a box of chocolates.

Yes, we are that terribly immature. We giggled the entire length of lecture, disregarding what our lecturer was saying about postcolonial literature. Instead, our shenanigans at rewriting the study guide took a more serious turn, and we ended with this summary; one taken from the definition and examples of personification:

All hands on deck,
Treating an abstraction
As if it were a person,
Endowing it with the stars
And watered heaven.

Christmas List?

I can imagine that there are some children--tummies full of delicious, home-cooked delicacies--who are intent on writing down their Christmas wish lists Thanksgiving evening. I can imagine their mother handing them a sheet of paper and a pencil (or, perhaps, a crayon) while their father encourages them to think of what they want for Christmas. I can picture their petite bodies stretched upon the floor, their fingers desperately clutching said pencil or pen or crayon or marker, eagerly scribbling what their precious hearts long for.

I was never one of those children. Divorced since I was ten months old, my parents have had their own methods of discovering what I wanted for Christmas.

When I was younger, for instance, I'm sure my dad put more effort into finding me toys. Surprisingly, and yet truthfully, one of my favorite Christmas mornings was a year I spent at my dad's house. I was six, in first grade, and was an avid fan of The Lion King. Having seen the movie in theaters, I had memorized several of the hit songs and had my own stuffed "Nala" to sleep with. When I awoke Christmas morning to the sounds of my step-siblings yelling for my brother and I to wake up, I eagerly jumped out of bed and raced up the steps (we were sleeping on the lower level; the "fireplace floor") to the large, over-sized Christmas tree. There was no need to scan over Santa's presents for my brother and step-brother and sister, for my eyes immediately latched onto what had been reserved for me: a stuffed "Simba" and a giant, two-and-a-half-foot long "Mufasa."

I'm sure that "Santa" knew to leave because my mother had informed him of what to purchase.

However, as I got older, my dad's side of the family conferred less frequently with my mother (not they ever really did in the first place). By the time I was eight or nine, my mother no longer held whispered phone calls in another room. Rather, my dad's family took to purchasing what they thought I should have. I no longer received fifteen Beanie Babies or five LEGO kits or a giant Barbie van. Rather, I was given enormous, decorative pins; turtlenecks (which I utterly despised at the time), clothes that were either too small or too ugly to wear; heirlooms (which I didn't appreciate), and adornments for my hair (which, to this day, I never bother with).

One of two strange gifts I received from my dad's family included a seashell-shaped sound machine that, with its haunting echoes of a thunderstorm, chirping birds, and heartbeat, never lulled me to sleep. The other gift, which I received at the age of nine, was a book of Emily Dickinson poetry. My aunt, apparently disillusioned to Miss Dickinson's eccentricities, "loved" her work. She lightly spoke of it then, which, today, gives me the impression that my aunt may not recognize the "depressing" themes that emerged in Dickinson's works once she locked herself in the attic (allegedly).

My mother, however, has always been more tactful. I can remember when, during the years we lived in "the yellow house," she would hand me the two-pound JC Penny cataloge and instruct me to circle "anything I wanted." At five years old, I would flip through the entire magazine, examining each page thoroughly before, finally, reaching the toys at the back. My eyes would glow, my heart would race, and my sparkling smile would calculate what toys would be reasonable. I would spend hours on end scrutinizing the dolls, the doll-houses, the coloring sets, and, of course, the Barbies. Ultimately, I would circle three or four things in the magazine, telling myself that "a few things" was reasonable and unselfish.

Those were the years that my family didn't have a lot of money. Openly discussing our situation with my brother and I, we were all aware of our poorness. And yet, each Christmas morning, each item that I had marked in that JC Penny catalog would be waiting for me; a gift from "Santa." At the time, I believed in "Christmas magic," and was awed by the sights of my heart's desires.

Today, however, when I think of the sacrifices my mother made to keep her children overwhelmingly joyful, tears well in my eyes. She has never failed me, not once.

Having raised me, she knows me incredibly well, and can anticipate whether or not I will like a gift. I know my critical attitude makes me a hard person to please, and--as a result--she struggles in finding me the "right" thing. This year, for instance, she took it upon herself to collaborate with A. and purchase a camera for me. As it turned out, the camera that she bought was not quite what I was looking for. She had been so eager to purchase one for me, as I had been forever complaining about my broken flash and use of AA batteries. However, when she went to buy the actual camera, she made the mistake of being talked into purchasing a specific one by a salesperson.

My poor mother; she tries so desperately hard, and I truly appreciate it. In fact, I love her for it. I only wish that she would not let her impulsiveness (which I inherited, by the way) take over her, especially during the Christmas shopping season.

When I talk to my mom on the phone about Christmas presents, she always tells me that she has "no idea what to get [me]". In reality, though, I think she does. I know she doesn't wish for me to tell her exactly what I want; after all, it isn't a surprise then. She wants to be just as excited as I am when I open my present and realize the time and money it took for her to purchase it. That's probably why the only specific things I told her I needed were...socks and underwear.

However, that's not to say that my mother doesn't know what she's doing. She knows exactly what she's doing. Her only intent is to make me happy and, honestly, I can say that just being in her presence this holiday season will be enough for me. After last Christmas, any joy I feel this year will be astronomical.
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