As children, we are filled with wonder at how Santa could possibly fit toys and gifts for all good girls and boys into just one sack. Surely that bag must be magic and bottomless. And for him to be strong enough to sling it over his shoulder? We kids start to believe that the cookies he eats must be filled with super strong-man protein.
Then we become grown real women, and we totally understand how to fit so much into one sack. Any woman who has had to travel by air (in a crowded plane, not a roomy red sleigh) and wants to bring 4 pairs of shoes with her, has learned how to fit everything in and still meet size and weight restrictions. She also has Santa’s super strength to vault her way through the airport to make a poorly scheduled connecting flight and heave her heavy carry-on up over her head and wedge it into the last remaining 6” of space. Yes, Virginia, it is a form of magic.
It is the same magic we use to fit a remarkable amount of necessary items into our purses – not just for us, but for the other family members who randomly have desperate need for pens, tissues, notepaper, paper clips, measuring tapes or Tylenol. Pack it in, and throw it over our shoulder. Sound familiar, Santa?
I remember as a little girl I was also amazed at the thought that Santa was able to visit every house in just one night. Then I became a big girl and learned how to tackle my daily To Do lists and prioritize everything that had to get done in twelve hours, and realized that maybe Santa’s achievement wasn’t so incredible. Heck, especially if you factor in time zones. Piece of cake.
Sure, once a year Santa impresses us all with his successful Christmas Eve mission. But what truly impresses me now is the ability of the R.W.’s I know to continue to stuff more and more into their giant bags of life every day. Just in the past few days, I’ve talked with women who, beyond their regular routines, are caring for ailing & aging parents, performing in concerts, worrying about their kids college struggles, coping with loved ones in rehab, taking care of young children, running their own businesses, traveling, volunteering with charities, and reacting to emergencies like broken home furnaces or hospital visits. On top of regular responsibilities, that’s a whole lot to stuff into our sacks. But wait, there’s more. Because it is the holidays. Santa has elves, but we don’t even have minions. So the decorating, shopping, baking, wrapping, hosting and traveling all for the most part lands on us. Yup, stuff that all in as well.
And you know how Santa is revered for not shaving, and for having a belly like a “bowl full of jelly”? Yeah…. we R.W.’s don’t have the luxury of letting ourselves go during this busy time of year. We are expected to look cute and festive while we hustle, schlep and drag that sack around. Don’t forget to smile and spread cheer like fairy dust along the way.
We don’t have elves, or Rudolph, or magic powers to make it all happen, but we have each other. When it all starts to feel like too much, there’s always another R.W. who understands, who gets it, and who’s running just as ragged – but still has the time for a quick text, email or call to help put everything into perspective. We help each other remember that we do all we do for very important reasons, that this really is a wonderful time of year, and that most of all sometimes we need to park that sleigh, put down our bags, and just look at the twinkling lights and breathe.
If Santa can do it, we can too.