A Pony for Christmas

Like every other horse-crazy child, every Christmas (and every birthday, and any other gift-giving occasion) from the time I was 3 years old, the first thing on my list was “A PONY”.  Like almost every horse-crazy kid, I never got one.   Although with each passing year, and each calm explanation from my parents about why it wasn’t going to happen, my resolve and hope never faded.  I still held out hope that there would be a pony under the tree (maybe not literally).  I asked for a pony every year from the time I was 3 until I moved out of the house and went to college.

I remember the different ways I imagined it could happen.  There could be a pony tethered outside, which wouldn’t be brought to my attention, of course, until after the festivities had subsided.  There could be a note under the tree telling me about a pony, and where I would find it.  There could be a tell-tale pony gift, like a bucket or a halter or a saddle (although as I got older, and started riding and leasing horses, these gifts actually became more commonplace and didn’t indicate a pony for me).  There could be a scavenger-hunt type clue given Christmas morning.  There could be a post-gift-opening trip somewhere, which turned into a trip to a horse barn to show me my pony (a la Miracle on 34th Street).  Maybe I’d go out to the barn where I ride the day after Christmas and there would be a pony there I hadn’t seen before.  Believe me, I thought of them all (and I’m sure there are some ideas I’ve forgotten since then).

It might sound sad, to go through about 20 years of asking for something and never getting it, but it really isn’t.  I think back on that experience with fond memories.  Sure, the memories would be fonderif the pony had actually materialized, but it was actually nice to have something to hope for that strongly — something I truly wanted that much.  It wasn’t the latest cd, or a trendy sweater, it was something that was truly my heart’s deepest desire.  And though I might have been disappointed that it didn’t happen, it never really made me sad.  I understood, even as a little kid, all the reasons I couldn’t have a pony.  But hoping and wishing and never giving up that belief that it might happen anyway helped give me that magical sense for the holidays — where I really believed something beyond explanation might come to pass.  It’s the season of miracles!

As an adult, I do kind of feel bad for my parents.  Even though I wasn’t heartbroken that my wish wasn’t granted, I’m sure it was hard for them not to be able to make it happen.  I now have 2 horses of my own, because that wish never went away.  When I was old enough to make it happen for myself, I did.  It was just as magical to bring my first horse home myself as it would have been to find her under the tree when I was 8.

That being said, when I have kids of my own, I don’t think I’ll be able to resist the urge to grant their wish if they ask for a pony of their own.  But maybe I won’t do it the first time they ask — maybe really wanting it makes it a little bit more magical when it happens.

2 Responses to “A Pony for Christmas”

  1. Dan says:

    When I was a little girl in Poland, we all had ponies! Ok, wait, that wasn’t me, that was a Seinfeld character.

    But I do have a horse of my own, and I wouldn’t have her if it weren’t for Em. Caring for and riding Shadow really makes me happy and I enjoy being able to ride with Em and Cricket or Ellie (her horses). Em’s in charge of the horsing in this family, but I agree, our future children will get ponies if they ask for them, but maybe not the first time they ask. :-)