Last year one of my favorite Christmas memories was when Santa Claus came to our house for a visit. We had just finished dinner, the kids were playing in the family room…and then the doorbell rang.
My daughter bolted to the front door and her eyes widened in awe when it opened. There he was–standing at HER front door. Her entire face lit up beaming with excitement and wonder. She screamed with happiness.
When my little boy’s eyes saw “the big guy” in his house, he also screamed…but out of terror.
He was scared to death; there were a lot of tears.
To me, this moment was pure Christmas magic. It’s a memory that I absolutely love.
So this year I was looking forward to having St. Nick come over to our house again. I couldn’t wait to be there to see their little faces the first time they saw him this year….to hear my daughter’s sweet voice tell him her Christmas wishes…to see how my son would react. Santa’s scheduled to stop by our house on the 22nd and I’ve been counting down.
But there was a problem…
Their daycare is absolutely incredible–honestly, I don’t think I can explain just how amazing the teachers and staff are there. The teachers genuinely love the kids and go over and beyond in caring for them. Let’s put it like this…last week my kids were sad and my daughter actually cried when it was a snow day and they couldn’t go to school. They love it there…and I adore their entire team.
Their daycare is constantly looking for cool things for the kids–yeah, later this week they’re having an indoor snow party! (Like I said…incredible.)
But they also arranged another holiday activity: Santa was going to visit each class, have a snack with all the kids, and then head back for pictures. Sounds awesome, right?
Well, it would be, except…
This week I have a business trip.
I was going to miss it–I was going to miss seeing their faces, watching their reaction. Of course we’ll still have Santa come to our house, but now it won’t be the first time they see him.
I was crushed. Like crazy crushed. Like I thought about having my father-in-law pick up my kids early before they saw Santa crushed.
So I did what I always do when I’m upset and need advice: I called my mom.
She told me what I didn’t want to hear–she told me that I needed to let my kids have this special moment…without me.
As a working mom, I try not to think about all the little moments that I miss each day. I try not to get jealous of my friends who get to be with their kiddos all the time. But I’m not going to lie, sometimes it’s really hard.
And it’s hard enough to miss the “little” things, but for some reason, and I know it sounds silly, but seeing Santa for the first time this year was a big one to me.
How am I supposed to let go when I’m doing my best to try and hold on to as many moments as I can?
But today I had to let go a little.
Today my kids saw Santa…and I wasn’t there to see it. While I loved having them call me tonight and tell me all about it, I was still sad. I can’t help it. There may have been a few tears when my daughter told me about how he gave her a candy cane and how she sat on his lap. I just tried to keep reminding myself how happy she was and how fun it was for her to see Santa with all of her friends.
Traveling alone equals dinner alone, so I took myself out to a little Italian restaurant a few miles from my hotel. As I was looking over the menu, I couldn’t help but overhear the table next to me. A mom, dad, and a little girl–probably three years old.
The parents were trying to keep her entertained and help her eat her dinner. She was dressed in a darling velvet dress, a big bow in her hair.
“Are you excited to see Santa? You need to eat your dinner…we’re going to see him in just a few minutes.”
They were enjoying a family dinner before taking their little girl to see Santa who was camped out at the attached mall. More than anything, I wished that was me with my family.
The little girl was squealing and talking about what she was going to ask him for. I couldn’t help but smile.
Then I got an idea.
When the waiter came to my table I asked him to do me a favor–I wanted to treat their table to dessert. I asked him to be discreet and keep it a secret, but to let them pick anything they wanted and to just put it on my tab.
When the family was done eating, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the waiter present the dessert menu to the dad, who now had a look of confusion and surprise…quickly followed by a smile.
Tonight I got to treat a little lady to her first taste of crème brûlée…and from the looks of it, she loved it.
The waiter came back to my table and very quietly whispered, “She loved it…that was awesome.”
I loved being able to give a family an extra dose of Christmas magic tonight…and to help make their trip to meet Santa even sweeter.
Of course I wish I could have been there with my little people today, but when I told the staff at the school how I felt, they did the next best thing for me–they videotaped it all! I’ll repeat again: they. are. amazing. They also took tons of pictures and even called me in the afternoon to tell me all the details. (The Santa report: my daughter had the time of her life seeing him…my son is still unsure about his Santa feelings.)
It’s two weeks until Christmas and today I was reminded what true Christmas magic is really about– it’s not about Santa…it’s about love. It’s about showing kindness to others and making memories with the ones you love most.
In just a couple of days I’ll be back home and I can’t wait to make new magical memories with my little ones…maybe I’ll take them out for their first taste of crème brûlée!