Now that I’m older and (don’t laugh) more mature, asking for toys feels a bit awkward, like asking for ketchup at an expensive steak restaurant. Furthermore, I don’t really need anything that I would put on a list for Christmas. I have more than my fair share of boxer shorts, and I will never wear a necktie again if I can help it. Tools are pretty much useless to me now, and so are those tree-killing page-a-day calendars that used to collect dust on our desk. Perhaps I could use a catheter bag cozy during these cold winter months, but who wants to ask a friend to knit that for Christmas?
Truth is, Christmas has lost quite a bit of luster for me. I tend to dread the shopping season and prefer to focus on time with friends and family versus the stress of finding the perfect gift. Still, every year my mother and my mother-in-law hound me for a Christmas list. Despite a few feigned protests, I eventually oblige with a collection of random thoughts, such as the following list from this year:
- A cool new winter hat, the pale blue one I have is getting a little shaggy
- A casual long-sleeved shirt, size extra large tall
- Some cool pants that actually cover my ankles while sitting in my wheelchair, 36 x 36 should do the trick
- A pair of warm, easy to slip on shoes (easy for someone else to put on I mean), mostly for going out in the winter but perhaps also in the house, size 13
- Strategy board game (my latest geek-full hobby) that doesn’t require me to hold any cards
- CD -- LCD Soundsystem (the "Sound of Silver" album)
- The latest Thomas Friedman book, something about hot, flat and crowded I think
- A six-pack of good beer
- A good old-fashioned head scratching
- Chocolate covered almonds
- Wheelchair with an onboard commode, every man’s fantasy gift
- Diaphragm pacemaker, although this one is a little expensive, about $20,000, and is not approved by the FDA for ALS yet
Such a list has become typical for me. I start with some rather boring and practical items, throw in a couple of fun things I probably wouldn’t buy for myself, and keeping with my boyhood tradition, finish off with a few fantastical gifts only Santa Claus himself could deliver. But like many parents of young children, I care far more about giving than receiving. The magic of Christmas has been renewed through their eyes. Although I must admit, I noticed a present for me under the tree, and I’m dying to find out what it is. No pun intended.
Merry Christmas to all, and may everyone get their two front teeth this year, whatever that might mean to you.