Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Day After

video

Christmas was glorious this year.

I remember being a child, feeling such pity for my parents who seemed to receive so little by way of gifts. I could never understand how they could be so cheerful when their haul was so small. I totally get it, though. Watching my boys' fulfilled anticipation was better than any gift I have ever received in the past. My only wish was that Christmas came more than once a year (and that I could afford it!).

Missing from our celebration was snow. We did not have a "white Christmas" here in Utah this year. At our home in Salt Lake, it was dry as a bone -- reminiscent of northern California holidays, with a slightly lower temperature. This afternoon the flakes finally started falling, and as a result, we've found a renewed Christmas spirit which we'd like to share with you.

I told the boys I'd give them a quarter if they sung really loud.

I think I may owe them 50 cents instead.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ghost of Christmas Past

I have friends who dutifully record their children's memories in a journal every week.
I wish I was one of those moms.
I am so not.

To be honest, I don't know what my boys' first words were, when they cut their first teeth, or when they took their first steps. I think in my heart, I wanted to write down every moment, but life is so much more busy and complicated than that for me. I'm sure that after enough therapy, they'll learn to forgive me for the fact that their childhood is a fuzzy, very distant blur, filled with whatever embellished, half-truth stories I can conjure up. Oh well.

Every once and a while, however, I sat down to detail a moment purely for the benefit of the relatives that couldn't be present.

Four years ago this month, Jonah had his first meet-and-greet with good ol' San-ty Claus. It was a highly anticipated event, and one that did not disappoint. I found it amusing, so I wrote down the experience and emailed it (along with some photos) to some extended family.

A few weeks ago we took the boys to visit with Kris Kringle at a church function. Jonah was all business and got right to the point. Sam (who had already had a run-in with Santa at the grocery store) wanted nothing to do with him. I got to thinking about how similar that was to Jonah when he was the same age and went looking for the email. Luckily, one of their great-aunts had held onto and graciously sent it my way.

So now I'll share it with all of you.
Merry Christmas!

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Originally emailed on 12/12/06

This past Saturday was our ward Christmas party. Among our festive activities was a scheduled appearance from Santa Claus. This is the first year Jonah has been aware of Santa, thanks to unrelenting commercialism and media brainwashing. He didn't know much about the big red man, but enough to know he was good -- he jingles when he walks, and he brings presents.

Jonah had been looking forward to meeting Santa at the party -- So much so that it became a frequent topic of conversation during the days leading up to the event. He'd walk around the house bellowing, "Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas eddybuddy!" During one conversation, I told him that most likely he'd sit on Santa's lap and Santa would ask if he'd been a good boy at which point he should reply in the affirmative. He would then probably ask what he'd like to receive for Christmas (to which Jonah emphatically replied, "A binky!" -- I later coached him that he might want to say something a little more big-boyish like a toy car, to which Jonah agreed...). At home Jonah would dialogue with his toys, one pretending to be Santa and the other pretending to be him, with those exact questions and answers. The night before the party there was a lot of bouncing around, with constant reminders that it was almost "party time" and "Santa time."

So of course the day arrives and Jonah is a very excited boy. When we got to the church to set up, he ran through the building looking for Santa. The morning probably dragged on for him as he patiently waited for the moment he was to meet Santa. When it was finally time to trek to the Relief Society room to stand in line, Jonah was a 3-year old on speed. He was running up to random kids, yelling in their faces, jumping up and down, turning around in circles, repeating the rehearsed answers to what he thought would be asked of him ("Mommy! I will say "Yes" and "I would like a big red car, please.")... It was all I could do just to get him to keep his hands to himself. At the point we made it to the front of the line, he was so overwhelmed with excitement he was doing what one might call the "pee-pee dance." And then the moment came. It was his turn. He stepped up onto the platform and...froze. He was gently pushed forward and consented to being placed on Santa's lap, but couldn't find any words to say. He didn't crack a smile. He didn't blink. He didn't look the old man in the eye. He didn't even look ME in the eye! He was void of all emotion. He didn't even react to the uncontrollable laughter of all the other adults in the room who know how out of character silence is for Jonah.

It was all too similar to the Santa mall scene in the classic movie, "A Christmas Story." Only this Santa wasn't an alcoholic and Jonah didn't ever snap out of it long enough to place his gift request.

When he was handed back to me, it took him a few seconds to shake off the...fear? Awe? Numbness? After that, it was as if he'd just hung out with a rock star -- he was elated and ready to tell anyone who crossed his path. It'd be interesting to know what went on in his head during his 30 seconds with Santa. Probably nothing.

Kids crack me up. Enjoy the photos.

Jonah, age 3