Dear Sean –
Let me begin with this: how could I have ever competed with an enormous replica of the Millennium Falcon and all those Star Wars figurines?
Along with the other presents your mother packed around the Christmas tree, stacked on chairs, on the sofa, the table. A townhouse living room jammed with her presents until moving about was near to impossible. Only the clothes gifts were mine.
A well-kept secret pact between you and your mother? Perhaps on her part, it was. When your brother came along, she showered Ryan the same.
This need to overwhelm you guys with presents seemed like a compulsion. She needed you to understand she loved you both and had no better means to express it — she the gifted artist, this was the best she could do?
Her mother hadn’t done even that much with her own upbringing–covering for the unconditional love she couldn’t provide. Her mother said over and over she never expected her only child would amount to much. She learned the wrong lesson from her mother.
Your mother won your love when you were born. Didn’t she understand her love was enough to win yours?
My Christmas wish is you’re doing OK out there across the country. That you can forgive your mother for her crippled ways. I think she still has the Millennium Falcon stashed somewhere–which breaks my heart. Yet I know she loves you.
And we all miss Ryan.