It’s that time once again to look back and reminisce on that joyous occasion we embark on every year, yes that magical trip to see Santa. A time honored tradition that resonates in the deep recesses of our childhood delight and wonder. Even though, come to think of it, I do not recall ever seeing one picture with Santa from my childhood. I don’t think my mom ever sprung for the overpriced keepsakes (although she sure as heck can’t wait to get one of her grandkids with Santa now! Go figure.) It would be interesting to take a look back and see how I handled the Santa experience but since those childhood memories are forever locked away on some roll of Kodak film somewhere, I present to you for comparison years 1 and 2 from Emma’s Santa experience.
Basically to recap year one, in the 11thhour, we got her to smile after a slow clap (like from the movies) permeated through the entire crowd of onlookers. Year two didn’t go too well but we were able to get one good picture before a meltdown happened. The picture itself from year two turned out well, she at least didn’t look terrified. Now we move onto year three. This year, I held onto hope, stemming from a well-crafted plan, that Emma would come to love and trust Santa. I made it a point to brainwash…er gently provide evidence in the form of cartoons (because they hold all the truths) that Santa is a wonderful, magical man who is worthy of speaking to and sitting with. Beyond that, I used the power of motherhood to conveniently discuss how awesome Santa is in extreme detail and frequency. Of course I was merely sharing in the good tidings of the season with my youngster and in no way manipulating her to want to sit on Santa’s lap and smile for a picture on demand. Either way, every time Santa came up, Emma had a ho hum sort of reaction so I was a bit concerned and certainly surprised when she met him….
Finally after all the hype, the day had come! We went to the Gaylord at the National Harbor just outside the city. The place was beautifully decorated. There were festive trees, a gingerbread village, a little train for kids, Madagascar characters running around, and of course, the big guy himself. If I wasn’t so exhausted we would have seen/ done more there. The morning started with breakfast which I knew would be a hit, full tummies make for happy toddlers. Then, after breakfast, we made our way upstairs to see Santa. I was prepared to stand in a long line and was planning to use the time to solidify Santa’s awesomeness. When we made it off the escalator, I peered around the corner and saw that there was NO LINE!!! Both a blessing and a curse because ready or not here we come. When we walked up, there was one kid already talking with Santa so we got to hang out for a minute. Emma looked through the door and suddenly the moment happened. Let me first explain that this moment is one of only a handful of moments parents wait for in anticipation. It is a top ten moment in your child’s life, as in one of the most amazing moments actually ever, you know like when they take their first steps, when they speak their first words, when they learn how to ride a bike, and when they graduate from college….the moment that only happens very seldom in this big crazy parenting world…..your child experiencing magic. Like, literally living magic for a moment in time. A magic that as adults, we struggle to find, but it happened for me in that very moment, my child’s eyes widened and her mouth hung open in that shocked/ amazed way, and she spoke the words “It’s Santa! Mommy, mommy it’s Santa!” It was the moment my child first truly believed in Santa Clause. I tend to do this thing where I consciously know something amazing is happening that I don’t want to ever forget and I burn it into my memory. I grab hold of whatever I can and encapsulate it in the deepest corner of my mind. I might not remember exactly what Emma was wearing, or what was going on in the background but I will remember the look on her face and the excitement in her voice. It was the magic of a child at Christmas and I will never ever forget it. I’m hoping even if I succumb to alzthimers, that I will still be able to pull this little gem up and bring myself back to one of the most incredible moments of my life to date.
Ok now that I’ve taken you down the sentimental rabbit hole, it’s time to snap out of it an embrace the nightmare that was the next 10 minutes of our 2014 Santa experience. After yelling excitedly about Santa several times, the minute we walked into the picture room, Emma clung to me and gave Santa a questionable look. I made sure to approach the chair slowly to let Emma warm up. She stood there for a few minutes while he spoke to her. She was completely unresponsive and I knew at that moment we had lost all hop of any sort of Pintrest worthy Santa picture so I did what any good mother would do, I lifted my flailing child onto his lap. It became quite clear immediately that this arrangement was not working for any party present and then something completely unexpected and also just as magical happened….. It started as a low rumbling and grew into the most amazing thing I’d ever seen/ heard. I looked over my shoulder to witness the baritone voice of the photographer singing…”LET IT GOOOOOOOOOO”!!! I kid you not, the freakin camera guy for Santa started singing “Let It Go” in an effort to calm down Emma. I of course, was thoroughly entertained and joined in. Emma (and possibly Santa?) were not as convinced. Finally, daddy took over and sat Emma on his lap. We got the picture and as I started to head for the door (certainly not running out to find a quiet corner to be alone and cry in after all of my hard work didn’t pay off) when a hush fell over the room and I heard my husband say “AWWWWW” I turned my head in slow motion to catch the end of a hug between Emma and Santa. It was truly the sweetest little moment between just the two of them. It seemed to be exactly what Emma wanted, just a small moment with the man to herself, none of this picture riff raff. Unfortunately the camera man “let it go” and the moment passed without being documented.
So this was it for 2014, another meh Santa picture in the books. But mark my words, next year will be the best yet!