Monday, December 27, 2010

It's a Wonderful Life

Recently, we made our annual pilgrimage to visit Santa. Now, I don’t want to brag, but Santa is a personal friend of mine and he always gives my children a little extra time. Unfortunately, in the past, the visit to my friend Santa was an interesting mix of joy and terror. One of my two children has always been at the point of amazement and wonder that all children feel at Santa, but they were always at that stage of fear of getting to close to the man and the legend, the actual Santa Claus.

We have many family photos from previous years where one or both of the children are in an early stage of terror only seconds after sitting down in Santa’s lap. I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon, the screaming child on Santa’s lap. The best I can figure, it is like meeting the most mythical figure in your life, in person, for the first time. As an adult, we’d probably feel intimidated and stand in awe. As a child, we screamed and cried, this why most all of us have an annual Christmas photo of our screaming children in Santa’s lap.

This year, my son and daughter were both excited about seeing Santa in person with the ability to give the full accounting of their entire list (for more about the infamous “list”, see last week’s column). I had to explain to my son that he was not going to be able to tell Santa everything on his list; he needed to prioritize and tell Santa the most important thing on his list. Santa knows everything on the list anyways, right?

So, the moment arrived when the kids had their opportunity to tell Santa exactly what they wanted. My son did not delay and he quickly found his position; I could tell he knew the weight of this moment. He understood that this moment would impact that glorious morning of tearing wrapping paper off of gifts. After some polite conversation, the question finally arrived, “Young man, what would you like for Christmas?”

Without hesitation, my son looked Santa dead in the eye and with a focused and determined voice, he responded, “I want a hot tub with jets.”

In unison, my wife, Santa and I asked, “What?!?!” I wasn’t even sure where he would get an idea when my wife burst into laughter. She had recently given him and my daughter a bath in our tub, which is equipped with underwater jets. They poured bubble bath in the tub and the jets expanded the bubbles literally over the top of the tub, with both children giggling uncontrollably. He remembered that moment and decided that he wanted that tub in our new house (we recently moved to a new home . . . one without a tub with underwater jets), not because it was a toy, but because it created a joyous memory.

On a recent drive, after a long period of quiet, my son simply said, “Charlie Brown is a blockhead, isn’t he? But he sure picked out a nice Christmas tree.” That is when it hit me; our lives aren’t about the perfect gift, they are about the perfect moments of uncontrollable laughter. Those are the moments we need to cherish and live for. This is wishing you all many “moments” of laughter this Christmas season.

No comments:

Post a Comment