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The Finer Things/Stacey Kukkonen

Getting back to myself

December 17, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

What a loaded question. What do you want for Christmas? It seems like all year, you come across these instances where you think, "Man, I could really use a bread box in the kitchen and I should remember that so when Mom asks me what I want for Christmas, I already know what to tell her." Then Christmas storms into town, and for the life of me, I cannot remember what it is I wanted so badly.

I have to admit, I did a tiny bit of big box shopping this year. When those Black Friday deals crossed my desk and I saw a brand new laptop ridiculously marked down, sure enough I was that person waiting in a line for two hours at midnight in downstate Ludington as my cousins teased me from behind the ropes. On the bright side, my full-time employee/full-time student husband Zach has a brand new laptop tucked under his Christmas tree this year.

Entrusting me with the bank card that night (brave man), Zach had expectations for me as well.

"While you wait, you should think about what you want for Christmas," he said.

The deal was made that I come up with my own list in return. Sure enough, Mom was asking what I wanted before we even had seconds of our Thanksgiving turkey.

"A bottle of perfume," I tell my husband even though that's not what I really want. And from Mom, I have nothing to ask for, even knowing how much she loves shopping for other people and giving gifts.

What I really want is something no one but myself can give - something so special to me, I can't exactly put it into words. All I want for Christmas is myself back.

Do you know how there are times in your life when you get into that funk? It's that familiar time when you're uncertain with yourself, who you've become and who you're going to be. I thought I had myself pretty figured out but then I start questioning whether I'm being the best possible version of myself. In my younger years, I was that shy girl who always smiled and was dubbed "Smiley" by peers. Later, I was the outgoing kid who lived slightly (and blissfully) on the edge. No matter what version of Stacey I wanted to be, I tried to find time for others and to do as much good as possible.

So I have decided I'll pin this issue onto my memory clipboard filed under "Things to work on," and make it a goal, nay, my New Year's resolution to get back to me.

In the meantime, I'll think of something to ask for from Mom for Christmas, because she doesn't even realize she's given me the best gift of all - she's cancer-free.

But if they absolutely must shop, a new bottle of perfume wouldn't be so bad either.

Stacey can be reached at



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