My role as a mother is one of my favorite roles. There are times I don't like being a mom, like when my kid smarts off of me and what he says makes complete sense and I'm left with no argument and no wise advise to toss to him. There are also those times for me when a child wants to sit on me, hug my leg, wants me to lay with them, or needs something RIGHT that VERY second, and all I want is to be alone in my dream home office writing away.
Then there are some times where your child grabs your heart and forever imprints an image and a story into it. I had one of those times when I had the opportunity to take my little girl to a Christmas party and then to a spontaneous trip to visit Santa.
The day was a dark, cloudy day. Both of my boys were sick together and I had been taking care of both of them all day long, making soup, saying sweet nothings to them, and entertaining Jessica because her play mate was down and out. It was the long awaited day for my mom's group's Christmas party that myself and a few other moms had spent weeks planning. I was already a little down because the boys were sick and I knew Zachery was going to miss out on some fun stuff just because he was sick. I spent an hour trying to figure out what to wear, or more so trying to squeeze into pants my ass would not go into and finally figured out something that would do. Jessica had been a crab pot all day long for whatever reason, so getting her dressed was just like getting me dressed, it TOOK forever. She wanted to wear these fluffy boots so I put her in a pair of jeans and a cute t-shirt. Well, three minutes after having the fluffy boots on she wanted them on and her princess dress on. This dress is a hand-me-down from her cousin and she has been infatuated with it for DAYS. She wanted to wear it every time she saw it. So, we put the "princess" dress on with her "princess" shoes and headed out to the party.
The party was a great time. I had the opportunity to enjoy some great one-on-one time with Jessica. I learned how advanced she is and how much curiosity she has to learn and to do new things. I also learned she is shy like me but if she finds someone or something she likes to do, it puts her at ease. Her knack is doing something with her hands, so we made our way to the craft stations after chatting it up with a few mamas. I got to watch her decorate a cookie and SAVOR every bite of that cookie covered in sprinkles and white frosting. Next, we headed to paint some ornaments that a few of us mamas made from scratch. Jessica picked an snowman ornament and decided she needed to have every color offered to her from red, to blue, to gold, to green, to white on her little snowman, TWICE. I watched her meticulously paint her snowman and make it her own. Finally, we went to the last craft station where there were outlines of snowmen to make out of cotton balls, buttons, pipe cleaners and glitter. She wanted to put every little detailed cotton ball, button, googly eye on herself, where she wanted it. It came out really well and she asked me to write her name at the top. Her requests and her attention to detail just amazed me.
At the end of the party, we had a book exchange and had asked the mamas to wrap each book so the child would think it was a gift. When it was time for the book exchange, Jessie went to the basket and picked out a book wrapped in Santa paper. I thought this was especially cute because all during the day she had been saying, "Mama, I gotta go see Santa." The party ended and Jessica and I walked out with all of her little crafts she made, an experience where she had to be her sole little self because her brother was not there, and her new gift.
When I in the car, I got the bright idea of taking Jessica to see Santa. Some people may think, "What? You didn't take both kids at the same time?" Not this go round. I did later, but for I wanted to share her first Santa experience with her so I could watch her. I wanted to see how she handled a stranger who holds the magic of Christmas in his hands. We went to the outlet malls in Anthem where Santa has a house and right beside the house is the tallest Christmas tree at least in the state and maybe in the country. Jessica immediately saw the Christmas tree as we pulled up to the mall and gasped in her little voice and said "Mama, look, a Christmas tree...the tallest one like Dora's tallest mountain." I said "Yeah, isn't it pretty. Right next to it is Santa's house, see?"
We got out of the car and while I was unbuckling her seat belt, she said "Mama, I want to take Santa's present." I said OK, thinking that Jessica was thinking that she wanted to take "Santa's present" because it was a present wrapped in Santa paper. We got in the line with only two people ahead of us and waited. She already looked so cute with her princess dress, her present and she was contently waiting to see this man who was gong to give her a present that she SO wanted.
The person ahead of us got finished with sitting on Santa's lap and taking pictures and it was finally Jessie's turn. Prior to her turn I talked to her and told her she had to walk up to him and say hi, then I would put her on his lap and she could tell him what she wanted for Christmas. After that we would take a picture so we could remember her first time seeing Santa. She nodded her little head while I talked to her and after I finished talking to her I said "OK, you ready?" She said "Mama, can I give him my present?" My heart just swelled up and I was so curious as to why she wanted to give her present to Santa. I told her "Jessica, that present was given to you, baby, it's yours to open when ever you want. You can even open it now if you want to." She said "No, mama, it's Santa's present." It popped into my head that maybe she saying this because of the paper. That has to be it because there is no way this girl who drives me up the wall is this sweet. So I tried again to convince myself she wasn't so sweet. I said "Baby, do you want to give it to Santa because it's wrapped in Santa paper? Because it has Santa on it?" She held strong and said "No mama, it's Santa's present."
Ok, determination wins! I told her it was her turn and she could go see Santa now. She walked up to the man dressed in red, with black boots and a fantastic looking beard and sweet, kind, blue eyes, just the way you've envisioned him over the years. She held the present out the whole way during her little walk to him and said, "Here, Santa." Of course, Santa looked at me questionably, and I shook my head and smiled, telling him, it was fine. He asked her "Do you want me to open this now?" She shook her little head yes, so he unwrapped the gift and the book was A Letter To Santa. He flipped through the book and told her thank you. He then scooped her up, put her on his lap and asked her, "So what do you want for Christmas?" I was SO curious what she was going to say because I had been explaining the Christmas concept for days to the kids, how it worked, who Santa was and what he did. We watched Santa movies, read Santa books, made Santa crafts, and talked about what each child wanted for Christmas. Jessica had been naming off a variety of things she wanted but there was one thing that was consistent and I wanted to hear if it was going to be the consistent thing she had been talking about. i wanted to see if she had grasped what Santa was and what he did. Sure enough, she whispered, "Jessie, the cowgirl."
Jessie loves Jessie the cowgirl from Toy Story because, well, she thinks she is her. Every time she saw Jessie, she would say, "Mama, that's Jessie, like me?!" She wanted the doll and she also told him she wanted a Jessie outfit so she could dress up like her.
When she told Santa she wanted "Jessie, the cowgirl" and "Jessie, the Halloween cowgirl" (the Halloween cowgirl is Jessie's way of saying a Jessie outfit) Santa said, "I think we can do that."
Of course, the girls that were taking pictures of Jessica hemmed and hawed about how cute she was and how sweet she was. She made such an impression on them, they gave us two free pictures. I was speechless throughout the whole experience because I was beaming and grinning ear to ear, because I was so proud of her and so very happy for her.
It was a joy to see her first experience with Santa and to watch her make the connection between her imagination and reality. Of course, I was stunned by her innocence and sweetness of giving Santa her gift and hope to goodness she hangs on to both her innoncence and sweetness when she gets older.
I love that little girl with all my heart and consider myself lucky to be her mother. Writing this makes me want to go upstairs and cuddle with her, then I remember how horrible of a sleeper she is. If I wake her, she will be up like I am now, unable to sleep.
Afterwards, we walked out, went to see the Christmas tree and looked at her pictures. She was so curious to see the picture and to remeber Santa. She also wanted a picture with the Christmas tree. So we took a picture, with me still beaming, lost in a trance of sweetness.
Then my phone rings. It's Jeff on the other end.
Jeff: "Baby, what are you doing?"
Me: "Taking Jessie to see Santa."
Jeff: "Oh. (Pause) Are you going to be home soon?"
I can just see this pitiful man with his lip poked out just a little.
Me: "Yeah, I'm coming home right now, why? Are you guys ok?"
Jeff: "Yeah. (Pause) We're hungry."
I visualized my husband in pj pants, a hoodie and my son sitting next to him with his thumb in his mouth in comfy pants and a hoodie too, playing video games the whole time I was gone, not paying attention to anything because they were so miserable.
Me: "Why didn't you guys eat?"
Jeff: "I don't know."
Me: "You guys are sitting in the dark too huh?"
Jeff: starts laughing "Yeah."
Me: laughing "You guys are pitiful! Sick, hungry, sitting in the dark, poor thing. What in the world would you do without me babe?"
Jeff: laughing "I don't know.I didn't even know it was dark."
Back to reality! Duty calls! Jessie and I went home that night both of us changed. She saw Santa for the first time and I was more in love with my daughter than I have ever been.