My nephew received a letter from Santa yesterday, reassuring him of his existence. He also received a certificate to prove he had made the NICE List.
"I am aware that you are now seven and other children might be telling you I'm not real..." Santa wrote. "But to keep the Christmas magic alive and help me get all the Christmas presents to everyone, YOU MUST BELIEVE... Christmas magic is like the wind, you can't see it, but it's real." At that moment, my nephew reported that a huge gust of wind had banged against the window, making the whole family jump. So there you are, proof that Santa exists.
My husband's nerd magazine (Focus) is a little more cynical. It says that to deliver presents to 200 million children in 800 million homes spread over 3x10¹³m² of land, Father Christmas would have to go at such a speed that the air resistance would vaporise him and all the presents with him.
Back to the magic! I say. Since magic is the only way I'm going to get what I want for Christmas. You'll never guess what it is, so I'll tell you. I want to be able to roll my Rs. Do you know how humiliating it is to be half Spanish and half Welsh, and be unable to roll one's Rs? I doubt it.
I want to be able to shout out: Rrrround the Rrrrugged Rrrrock a Rrragged Rrrascal Rrran! and Erre con erre cigarro, erre con erre barril, rapido ruedan los carros, por los rieles del ferrocarril!
All my life I've avoided talking about perros. DOGS. And burros. DONKEYS. It was hard because sometimes I really wanted to talk about these creatures. If I wanted yummy churros... well, I just pointed. It's not that people can't understand me, they can, but when I was little the other kids laughed at me. And they laughed into my teens too. "Say dog, Emily! Say dog, Emily!" I remember bursting into tears because I was SO frustrated. I tried, but I just couldn't roll them. Years later I watched a YouTube video with exercises for my tongue. But after my mother in law happened to talk to a therapist one day, who said that at my age it was unlikely I'd ever learn, I gave up.
To be honest, I thought I'd stop caring, until a grown up laughed at me the other day. Then it brought it all up. I felt stupid. I also felt sure I sounded stupid to everyone too. Why else would they find it so funny? Was I destined to sound stupid all my life?
So that's what I want for Christmas please, Father Christmas. I'd like to roll my Rs so when your sleigh lifts off I can shout ARRRRRRRIBA! And if the magic bit isn't real and the nerd magazine is right, please can you slow down a bit so you don't get vaporised. Thank you!
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