Ok. Here's the story:
Our first holiday season with Miss Lucy has been a little different than we had magically imagined. My grandfather (whom I think the absolute world of) has not been well. To be brief, and so not to go in a direction I am not prepared to go, I will just say that our time with family has been spent in a different and far more important way. Needless to say, Christmas has snuck up on us...
So, determined to create memorable moments and to begin family traditions, I made my little family of four trek to the mall for the quintessential photo with Santa Claus. I went online to be sure what time to be there, and packed my little family into the car at 8:00 this morning. Lucy was decked out in a gorgeous silver sparkly dress, and Sam chose a handsome button down all by himself. They were adorable, and Sam was psyched up for his first real visit with Santa. (In past years, he has opted to send Santa a wave from the sidelines, not feeling brave enough for a face-to-face it the man himself.... this was his year!) All the way to the mall, Sam rehearsed what he would say when finally facing the big guy, and he was feeling very "big-brotherly" in his role of ushering Lucy into this tradition.
Well, we arrived near 8:30 only to discover that Santa would not be rolling in until ELEVEN o'clock! Hmmm. That was the first sign of what was to come. But, determined to make the most of things, we took advantage of the nearly empty mall and attempted to make a dent in our pathetic shopping list. Both kids were true sports. Finally, with 30 minutes to go, we decided to head to Santa's Workshop and join the small cue that had formed. At that exact moment, a white haired, jean wearing, tattoo sporting jolly old soul arrived on the scene... yup. Sam's eyes were glued to this character who looked familiar but so quite right. I think I heard him whisper, "That guy is not Santa....". We tried to divert his attention, but the damage was done. Naturally, he accepted that that man must be one of Santa's many helpers as St. Nick himself is a very busy man these days. Fine, good enough.
While waiting in line, and waiting, and waiting, we befriended some other families and shared war stories of Santa's past. We swapped toys and crackers and went to great lengths to keep our gaggle of children content while waiting. Finally, at 10 past 11, Santa made his grand entrance... and, truly, the crowd (with seeming memory loss of the jean wearing fella of a half an hour ago) went wild! It was a magical moment... just as I had planned! ;-) We were the fourth family in line and ooohed and aaaahed and giggled as each child timidly approached the now rosy cheeked Santa.... the first one was a screamer, and we all thought it was precious, knowing he could easily be our own... and, as you can see, folks, that is just what happened. Three hours, a big hit to the VISA, and half a bag of goldfish later, here is our first Santa photo!
May yours be filled with laughter and joy... and loved ones to share it with.