If I didn’t already make it painfully obvious, Christmas is most definitely one of my favorite times of the year! I think it is because my parents did such a great job of bringing this holiday to life. It was always filled with surprises. One year, we were out to dinner and came home to a pink note on the Christmas tree, a new puppy (a white German Shepard with a red collar that we promptly named Candy Cane) and a room full of toys. One year I was the lucky recipient of a bright red 1979 Mazda RX-7 that won me lots of attention in the school parking lot. We always got 2 Christmases, one with Mom and one with Dad, and never do I recall a Christmas that was anything less than amazing. Wildest dreams and wishes came true, and for some kids who grew up pretty close to poor, this was a spectacular triumph my parents always managed to pull off. Perhaps the year that lives most vividly in my heart is the year I saw Santa.
I told you before, he does exist! And, in exactly the way my mother had promised. You see, she told me from the beginning that he was a spirit of Christmas- a face for miracles. And when I saw him, I knew I would never stop believing in the magic of Christmas. To interject a bit of my mother’s memories from that year, she was a young single mom with 3 little girls at home in bed. We had only lived in Houston a few short months, and we were 4 peas in a pod, sticking together through thick and thin trying our best just to survive the big city. She was working as a waitress in a place called The Texas Tumbleweed and she was working on Christmas Eve. Of course business was slow, and the manager sent her home early because he knew she had little ones at home.
This didn’t make her very happy, because she had hoped a few more tips that night would get her a few more dollar store gifts to put under the tree. She went home full of despair and disappointment. Within a few hours the party people of the night were knocking on the door, inviting themselves in to have a few beers. I heard my mother stirring around the house, talking to people, but I knew better than to get out of bed because it was Christmas Eve, and Santa never comes if you’re awake!
Now breakfast after work in the wee hours of the morning was something my mom had done a time or two for her fellow employees, but this night, she was not in such a jolly mood. Still, forever the cordial hostess, she cracked open the eggs and fired up the stove. The doorbell rang, and no one would get up to answer it. The door bell continued to ring. Frustrated that she was cooking for these people, on Christmas Eve, (didn’t they have families?), she finally went to answer the door herself.
I heard her gasp, “Oh MY God!” She shouted excitedly… And I knew something good was going on…. I climbed out of bed for a peak, and just as I neared my door she opened it and said “come and see, Santa Claus is here!” I entered the hallway just in time to see my baby sister take a dive off the top bunk straight into my mother’s arms. Smiles everywhere! And there he was, in our living room, a sack full of toys in one hand, and a bud lite in the other! (We learned that Santa doesn’t always drink milk, guess that’s how he ran over all those Grandma’s they sing about…)
Fast forward 25 years and that Christmas still fills my heart with joy. That’s exactly who Santa Claus is, a bunch of waitresses with their own hungry kids to feed, picking out the one among them most in need, and making 3 little girls feel like this big city really was going to turn out ok…
I never fail to tell my children that once, just once, I really did see Santa unloading our gifts in the middle of the night. They love that story, almost as much as I do. My long divorced parents share only a few things in common, and its rare for me to say they do something with similar zeal, but when I was a kid, Santa Claus never let me down. As grandparents, the magic has continued.
Grandmommy and PawPaw sent the Zoo Crew a new trampoline this year! The kids have already bounced on it a good 10 hours and it’s only day 2 of having it put together! MeMaw and Poppa managed to find some amazing deals… and KK now has the “pink motorcycle” she has been dreaming of for nearly a year. (My boys have always ridden dirt bikes, and the first thing KK wanted when she came to live with us was her very own pink motorcycle. Her favorite thing about her new toy? No boys allowed on it!) A garage sale had perhaps the greatest of all gems. Trenton is the oldest of the “babies” and he is quickly letting us know that he doesn’t want to be a baby anymore. He had longed for a PSP for almost 2 years, but he tends to be a little rough with things, so it didn’t seem practical to spend so much money on such a gift. However, there was a garage sale, and there was a PSP, BRAND NEW might I add, and Memaw quickly snatched it up!! So Trenton got his dream gift and no one broke the bank.
So we are putting things away Christmas night, trying to fit all of our new toys into our tight spaces, when Trenton says “that’s all I wanted for Christmas, a video game!” Just then, Jordan (our quiet little 3-year-old) grabs a large plastic package, holds it proudly in the air and shouts “all I ever wanted was these black socks!”
There you have it folks, lots of warm and fuzzy moments, and next year, its black socks for everyone!