The other day, as we walked home from school, the Tornado & I chatted about our highs & lows (<—–Ive learned that’s the best ‘get information casually’ time. Our morning hi/low game provides insight into her world but it’s often “cleansed” as a result of not being as in-the-moment).
“I hate Christmas,” she said. “And I hate being the only one in my class who celebrates Hanukkah.”
This being Oakland I was surprised by the second fact (which she asserted confidently & with no small amount of irritation).
I resisted, however, the urge to question her & did what Id have wanted in her shoes: I met her precisely where she was.
“I get that,” I said and squeezed her hand. “I felt the same when I was your age. Now that Im older like being different. Im proud of the fact I celebrate and worship differently than lots of people.”
That’s pretty much where our conversation ended.
We finished our walk.
Chatted about our highs & grew quickly distracted by other more pressing matters.
Until a few days later.
We were driving
with inappropriate hip hop blaring in companionable silence when I heard from the back seat:
Oh Mama. Im tired of Christmas. When is it over? What day is it again?
First, as a woman whos lived through 43 Christmases, it *fascinated* me she had no clue what the date of the holiday was.
She knew it was coming. She knew it annoyed her. She had no idea whether it was tomorrow or weeks away.
Next I had more of an OOOOH moment.
A needed reminder that, for me, becoming unapologetically myself and embracing being different was a process.
That no matter how she might march to the beat of her own skull-emblazoned drum—she’s eight.
And sometimes eight simply wants to be the same as everyone else.
She explained to me a few reasons she “hated” Christmas more this year than others and when she finished I said to her:
Celebrating Hanukkah is just one thing of many which make you special.
Without missing a beat, she sighed & quoted a line from our favorite musical:
yes it does.
even if sometimes, at eight, it doesnt feel that way so much.