I am writing to you on behalf of Mark, our two-year-and-two-month-old toddler dragon. You may remember him from the mall—he is the kid who is fascinated by Christmas lights and decorations but claims he is afraid of you. Yes, well, this is Mark.
I was going to ask Mark to write to you, but on second thought: 1) he has yet to master the art of putting letters and words together (shocking, I know, at the ripe old age of two); 2) our walls are white and we very much would like them to remain a neutral colour, so art projects are to be completed outside the house.
Being your typical toddler, Mark loves trucks, “bateaux” (it means “boat” in French—long story, really), cars, planes and machines in general. He likes to cuddle with his stuffed toys (“dog” is a favourite and yes, I am sorry if his name sounds ghetto-ish, I was jetlagged the day we bought it). He loves balls and balloons and he can play basketball better than me, which is not very difficult, but still. He enjoys playing with Duplo blocks and building impossibly high towers… and he is very upset when they fall—I am sure architects feel the same.
But you know what, Santa? We do not need you to bring toys. We know that you operate within a tight budget and that you suffered budget cuts. I could not help noticing you needed several new reindeer—your current team is close to retirement, right?—and that your… ahem, vehicle, does not meet current safety standards, let alone environmental standards. And please, stop restructuring. No wonder the elves unionized last year! You know they deserve overtime pay, even if they are exempt employees.
So, really, Santa, leave the whole gift-giving business to us. We are lucky, we can afford to buy a few toys that will make Mark happy. Plus, I think I saw a very neat truck on sale at Winners the other day. I mean, this is not going to bankrupt us. Just focus on bringing toys to households who may not be as fortunate as us, alright? Yeah, yeah, you may want to make sure they celebrate Christmas, but do not use this as an excuse—if they don’t celebrate Christmas, chances are that they have another major holiday in the year, so just drop off the gifts then.
What I am asking you, Santa, is to keep an eye on Mark. Not that I am afraid he is going to misbehave. I mean, he has and he will, but I can take care of that, it is part of my job description.
No, I want you to make sure Mark is growing up happy, confident and healthy.
Bit of a tall order, eh?
Well, gee, sorry, you are the CEO of dreamland, buddy. Do not sign up for a job if you cannot deliver. You did not lie on your resume, did you?
As a parent, I try my best to make sure Mark’s needs are met. Basic needs, such as food, shelter and clothes that look cute, but also immaterial needs, such as love, care, attention, etc. Trust me, it is not always easy to praise while correcting, to love while being annoyed, to look annoyed when you love…
My ultimate goal for Mark is that he grows up to be a happy, confident, passionate and caring person who has passions and love people, and who is loved in return. I do not care what he will do for a living, I do not care who he will live with, I do not care where he will live—these details will be his to figure out.
I just want him to experience the best of what life has to offer.
I just want him to find his way in this world.
I just want him to amaze and be amazed.
Feng and I will always be by his side, holding his hand when he wants us to, letting him go free if needed.
In the meantime, day to day, we try our best to follow general guidelines and listen to our heart. It is not always easy—we did not exactly received appropriate training for the job—but I think Mark will forgive us the small mistakes we make along the way.
Because we love him very much. When I whisper “I love you” in his ear, it is true, I mean it. And when I see Feng with tears in his eyes because Mark surprised us, once again, I know these tears are real.
So please, Santa—less toys, more love.