Two years ago when I started my job, I had the privilege of meeting Miss Alice. Alice is the store’s event coordinator and a teacher for many classes on various types of crafting. She’s the mother hen type, always clucking and fussing over the people she works with, the regular customers, and especially the children that attend her summer craft classes.
Though I’d only just started working there in October, when Christmas rolled around, Alice gave me a gift. Something simple, but something that has come to hold a great significance to me. She gave me a Christmas ornament she had decorated with drawn snowflakes and bright red letters that simply read “Wish List.”
The instructions she gave me were simple and charming – That every year, I should write down what I wanted, what I wished for more than anything in the world, and then put them into the ornament and wait and see what the year would bring. It was silly, but cute, so I wrote down the things I wanted on pretty scraps of paper and put them in.
Then I learned something amazing. As simple and small as that ornament was, it was filled with something that gets harder to find every year: Christmas magic.
It didn’t become evident until the following Christmas. I’d almost forgotten about that little ornament and I’d certainly forgotten the wishes inside. 2011 was a very difficult year for my husband and I, leaving me far from being in the Christmas spirit when December rolled around. But I decorated anyway, and I found that ornament in the box when it came time to trim the tree. I sat down and pulled off the top, shaking the colorful paper slips out onto the table.
Every wish had come true, even the big one, the wish for a car. But each of those wishes seemed shallow and empty compared to what I could have had. We’d suffered a great loss that year. Both of us had been ecstatic to learn we were expecting, but we didn’t get that happy ending. If you’ve never experienced the crushing loss of a child, then you are fortunate – Since mine had not even been afforded a chance to be born, the pain of the loss is often overlooked by those around us. But the twins were there, they were real, and they were everything I ever wanted. Having lost them before I ever got to take them in my arms was devastating, and after that great of a loss, I couldn’t find a way to be happy at Christmas, regardless of what silly and materialistic wishes had come true. They should have been born in November. How could I be happy at Christmastime?
I threw each scrap of paper, each granted wish, away. No matter how great, no matter how unlikely, I’d been told to write whatever I wished for. I tore a corner off a piece of plain white paper, and wrote my wish with tears in my eyes.
I wished for a baby, and then I cried.
2012 has been a better year. My health improved, I made great strides forward in a large number of projects, and again, I forgot about the ornament.
I was eager to put up the tree this year. My husband and I put it up on the first of December, the first sights and smells of Christmas putting me into good spirits.
I was surprised to see the ornament Alice had given me, its one scrap of paper still inside. I didn’t think much of it at first, putting it on the tree without looking inside. I went back to it later, sitting down and looking at it, realizing that once again, all my wishes had been granted. Our daughter, Evelyn, was born on the 15th of this month. Every time I look at her, I feel a little bit of a mist in my eyes, and a thankfulness that’s deeper than what I can ever express.
This year, the ornament will be going back into the box without any wishes inside of it. After all, with the arrival of our baby girl, I have everything I ever wanted.
What more is there to wish for?