Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Last Santa

There comes a time in all of our lives, when we make that last visit to Santa.

I don't actually remember my last visit, but the year that I didn't go up to him is still vivid in my mind. I remember being in the department store, and being surprised by someone's suggestion that I go sit on Santa's lap. I remember a slow burn traveling up my cheeks as I wrestled with the truth of the matter...that in other's eyes I still seemed young enough for Santa....that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with this perception....but that secretly, deep down, I wished I were still brave enough to go up. I don't remember how old I was, but that startling knowledge - that through merely the passage of time, Santa had emerged one year as a stranger instead of a friend - left me unsteady, disgruntled.

Today we visited the mall ahead of the crowds and only twin boy eagerly said he'd like to visit Santa. But when we got there, he looked abashed...like a big boy in the nursery. We stood behind the fake trees, and twin girl joined us, uncertainly interested all of a sudden. A Santa's helper peered kindly through the trees and said, "Do you want to visit Santa? Come right in! Come on! You should come!"

So they trudged forward, feet dragging. Something pulled them forward, something pulled them back.
But they smiled politely and spoke their words of request with plastered smiles, with stiff necks.

We all laughed as we gathered up our things.
I said to the husband, "The Last Santa."
He agreed with a rueful smile.
Then all six of us walked away together, arms looped, smiles real again.

But leaving something behind.

*

6 comments:

KEK said...

ahhh....I love this post.

kool kenna said...

aww i remember wanting to go see santa then not wanting to sit on some mans lap. maybe i did it just for the free candycane

Kristy said...

Awww, Kulio.

That's sad and wonderful all wrapped up in one.

My older daughter is just now understanding it all...and my little one still has no clue. But your post really makes me fast-forward ahead a few years - it makes me realize how much we need to appreciate all these little moments of magic...because they don't last very long!

Thanks so much for that.

p.s. Your children are so beautiful!

Heidi Lee said...

OH! That is so sad! I don't want that day to come for us.

All of mine still totally totally believe...even my 11 year old.

cjs said...

and I have chills.

oh, you can WRITE.

I am in awe of your way with words.

Ms.Lo said...

Love that pic... at first I thought they were the older 2. I always forget that they are growing up.

Great post! It's life-- beautiful and sad, all rolled up together.