Ah, that annual trip to the mall to visit Santa – hoping the little one won’t scream on the big elf’s lap, or worst yet, refuse to go near him. I trundled seven-year-old Jonas and four-year-old Henry into line at the mall Santa. As little Henry was transfixed by the animated toys and reindeer, Jonas turned to me in all his wee bluster.
“I know how this Santa thing works, you know,” he told me.
“Shhh, please don’t ruin it for your brother,” I said.
“I won’t,” he assured me.
It was finally our turn and both boys climbed eagerly up on the old man’s lap. Henry regaled the patient employee with his list. Jonas chimed in that he wanted that, too. I stood within earshot, making a mental note of items mentioned. We said our “Merry Christmases” and “Thank yous” and paid far too much for a blurry photo in a paper frame.
As we headed off towards the miniature train for a ride – part of our tradition, Henry grabbed my hand.
“Stop!” he yelled. “I forgot to tell him something.”
He ran back to the guy in the big red suit, who was between sittings taking a swig of what I hoped was water. He was kind enough to bend an ear towards Henry, who earnestly filled him in on the forgotten item.
I was still too far away to hear as Henry rushed back to me and took my hand, ready for his train ride. No mention of the desired gift.
Yeah, I thought, you know how this Santa thing works.
Causes Jodi Thompson Supports
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee