It is December, there is a bit of snow on the ground and a chill in the air. I can hear Christmas carols almost everywhere I go. Lights, garlands and decorations adorn most every building, desk and door. My gifts are purchased, wrapped and cookies made, yet I lack the giddy anticipation that I usually welcome this time of year. I love Christmas, usually the more holiday chaos the better, but I am just not feeling it much this year. There is nothing wrong, no particular reason, just a lack of enthusiasm for the season. I almost feel guilty for my complacency.
I think back several years ago when my daughter was just a wee thing, all of about four years old or so. We had attended a company Christmas party. Santa was there and everyone’s children were enjoying the festivities. There were goodies and gifts for everyone. My husband and I noticed on the way home, how quiet our daughter was after the party. We chalked it off to fatigue, since Christmas is exhausting when you are a child. All or nothing!
The next morning was a different story, we prepared for Pre-school, but the silent listless abandon could no longer be attributed to the previous evening’s weariness. Foreheads were checked for signs of fever, belly buttons tickled to rule out tummy disturbances, and only when I grabbed her up in a “mom-hug” did the tears begin to fly.
“Santa is not real” came out between sobs. Heartbroken, I looked at my daughter, and asked her what she meant. Hanging tightly around my neck she began to explain that one of the big kids at last evening’s party told all the little ones that there was no Santa. I looked into my daughters big brown eyes filled with tears and sheer anguish. Honestly, I am not sure who was crying harder at that point. I hugged her as tightly as I could and whispered that regardless what she heard, Mommy believed in Santa. She softly patted my face and seemed to take some solace in that statement.
After taking my daughter to Pre-school for the morning, I traveled across town to the mall. I needed to talk to Santa. I was not prepared for this revelation to happen to my family yet. Selfishly I adored the Christmas morning excitement and I was just not ready to give it up, nor was I content with the way that the blissful childhood mystery had ended. I waited there in line by myself with other Mom’s and kids waiting to tell the big guy what they wished for. When my turn approached, Santa looked at me strangely. I am sure it looked odd me standing there with no child in tow.
I told my story to Santa. He listened intently and his kind eyes spoke volumes to me. He asked when I could bring my daughter to see him. I explained that I would be picking her up shortly from school and would come straight back. He gave me a hug and told me that he had everything under control. Somehow I knew he did.
I picked my daughter up and though better, she still seemed sad. We usually ran errands on our way home so it was not unusual that we would go to the mall. As we walked down the midway towards the center where Santa was holding court, we saw him stand and place his hand over his eyes as though he was looking for something. Then it happened. Santa called out my daughter’s name all the way across the mall. Her eyes got large and a very surprised look came over her face. She grabbed onto my hand even harder. “Mom” she said “Santa knows my name”. I smiled at her and said “yes Honey, Santa knows your name”. As Santa motioned to us, we walked past the droves of children in queue. My daughter and Santa spoke for quite a while that day. She sat on his lap intently listening to him. I have no idea what the man said to her, but he had her undivided attentions. When their conversation was completed, she hopped off his lap, gave him a big hug, and skipped to my side with a smile the size of Texas on her face. Santa gave me a wink and a wave and miraculously Christmas was back! There was no more talk of Santa not being real!
We shared a few more Santa years and were able to have the appropriate parental discussion about the holiday and the magic that lies within. Today, I still have no idea what Santa told to my daughter. I do not know who he was, but I will never forget what he did for her and my family that day. Bless the man who saw the desperation in my face, and sadness in hers. My Christmas wish for him is for him to always hold that Christmas magic in his heart that he had that day.
As for my Bah-Hum-bug-ness, regardless of my glum feelings, I will always believe in the magic of the season. It is funny sometimes how particular memories come to us at random times. Hmmmmm . . . . Santa, I believe I might have found my Christmas again!