the other day i rushing down the main street in our town. a little bit cold a little bit in a hurry a little bit excited a little bit stressed. it was dark and ms. pea insisted i carry her as we scampered along with the bean’s mitten grip firm on my other hand. we were headed to the tree lighting which i had gone back and forth about. it was late for us and would make our bedtime late. it was cold that night. i wasn’t sure that either the kids or i had the energy to pull it off. but, at the last minute we geared up and ran ourselves out of the house. we parked several blocks away in a lot with plenty of space and began our mini trek to the park.
we walked through the dark evening lit up by the headlights of commuter traffic cutting through our town and my mind was still skipping about wondering what aspect of the evening to feel most worried about. then the beans small feet stopped moving. i looked up, caught by his mittened hand holding me back. there was a small pick up truck coming down the street towards us pulling a parade style float behind – a lit up sleigh with santa claus riding in it. he was waving to people as he passed.
is that santa claus? mama, is that santa clause?!
i had a split second of wondering how to answer, less than a split second, and then i felt something slide and give away in my chest and i was taken over with joy.
it is! beanie boy, there is santa claus coming down the street in our town! wave beanie wave! do you see him pea? pea look – santa claus!
the bean was bouncing in place a little bit now and he stared his little shy boy wave.
“hi santa!” i called out at the sleigh and he turned towards us. the bean’s shy boy wave took on some extra gumption and santa called out to him, “hello little boy! merry christmas!”
my heart was leaping and pounding and the bean’s hand in mine was squeezing and squeezing and bouncing up and down.
when beanie was quite small i remember reading a bit of the debate out there about santa claus and christmas. do you “lie” to your children and “pretend” there is a santa or do you tell “the truth” and say that santa is just a story. i did think about it, i wondered, but the bean just hasn’t been that interested in santa so it didn’t matter.
in that moment, on main street in our little suburban town, in the cold dark rush to the tree lighting i realized it just wasn’t a question to me. santa is as real as the joy that he brings. santa is as true as all my other belief in things unseen and magical. santa is the spirit of the holiday season. the bean, with his small hand tucked in mine and his voice shrill with awe had moved all my inner junk aside to show me – clearly and instantly – the magic.
in my life i have learned to live for magic.
so for us, santa is.
that moment was the beginning of me discovering the truth of what santa claus and christmas mean in my heart. and for me, this year, the holiday season has felt so different than in years past. instead of cautiously gaurding myself again all possible cheese factor i feel ready to embrace any person’s translation of christmas magic. even those funny little decorations you see on cars. really, they make me feel all squishy this year.
and i feel ever so thankful to my children for holding my hands tight and leading me in the direction of santa claus, of laughter and belief, of happy magic.