Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa's Visit

In the distance I could hear the faint sound of police sirens and it reminded me that it was our day for Santa to be coming by for a visit. I quickly realized that this has become one of our traditions. I let Daniel, James and Rebecca know that they should get their lists ready and put on their shoes. Rebecca and James hustled around looking for a piece of paper and a pencil so that they could start creating their list. Daniel on the other hand said he had Googled “Santa” and told me that it was impossible to visit 2 billion children in one night and that he wasn’t going to sit on Santa’s lap this year. I was a little saddened, but didn’t show my feelings and tried to address Daniels statement as best I could. So I explained to Daniel that not everyone in the world believes in Santa and not all the kids in the world are good. Daniel indicated that this was a good point but that still left a lot of kids for Santa to visit. While Daniel went back to his Google searches I could hear the sirens growing louder as Santa’s sleigh meandered closer to our street. I sat with James and Rebecca to see how they were making out with their lists. James had added “Kites” and “Dinosaur books” to his list as Rebecca was asking me how to spell “Pink Dresses” and then ”Hair Ribbons”. I called to Daniel once again to join us in making his list and Daniel yelled back that he found a web site that says Santa would not be able to withstand the G-force of all the starts and stops and would probably die after just the first few houses. The computer was logged into my account so the “Net Nanny” software was not blocking these searches as it normally would, but I decided to allow him to continue since I was there with him in the room.

As I watched him work away at his searches I chuckled and told him that he had better get started with his list because Santa was only a few blocks away. Daniel gave me a quick glance with just a hint of desperation as he went back to his keyboard entries. James and Rebecca had finished with their lists and were scrambling to get their shoes and jackets on.

As we were opening the door I heard Daniel say “Dad, it says here at the speed required to visit every house, in one night, the reindeer and sleigh would burn up in the atmosphere due to friction and air resistance, so there is no way that Santa could be the one bringing all the gifts to all these people on Christmas eve.” At this point the sirens were blasting away adding to the excitement on the street and we could safely gauge his visit to be within a few minutes. I told Daniel we were going outside. As we emerged from the house I noticed the other kids in the neighborhood were lined up on the street maintaining a tight grip on their lists. After a few minutes chatting with the neighbors Rebecca spotted the police car down the street and started screaming “There he is!!, Their he is”!! Not a second later Rebecca said she had to go to the bathroom so we rushed back into the house so that she could go and by the time we got back outside I noticed that Santa was stopped just a couple of houses away. Just at that moment James ran up to me crying because he dropped his list which had subsequently blown into the woods. So we both ran into the woods to look for it. If there was snow on the ground we would have never found it but the white piece of paper was very visible against the backdrop of brown and auburn leaves which covered the ground. We quickly retrieved the list and managed to take our proper place at the foot of the driveway before Santa’s sleigh arrived.

Amidst the jubilation I found myself a little saddened that Daniel was not joining us this year but I realized it was inevitable that this day would come, it is one more sign that they are growing up, becoming more independent and relying more on their own sense of deductive reasoning vs. believing blindly what others tell them to believe.

Just as Santa was pulling up in front of our house Daniel came storming out, paper in hand, jacket half on. He stood behind James and Rebecca and was very quiet for a few seconds. He turned and looked at me, smiled, and said “Hi Dad”. I smiled back and rubbed his head, said I was glad he came out with us and then asked him why he changed his mind. He said “Well, I don’t know how reliable Google is plus I am still just a kid and I don’t want to take a chance just in case Google is wrong.” I told him he makes a good point and sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.

As I watched my children take turns sitting up on Santa’s lap I took great joy in observing their faces as they answered Santa’s questions and realized that we will be forging new traditions as the old ones fade.


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