So the year was 2005. I had no feelings of a blue Christmas heading into the holidays, in fact just the opposite. I was looking forward to the Christmas season. I put my whole heart into all of the preparations, just as I had done every year. All the kids believed in Santa, so, they were filled with anticipation of “his” visit. As usual, it was hard to get the kids to settle down to sleep so I could get my Santa tasks taken care of.
Still dark (as opposed to bright) and early Christmas morning, the kids awoke and knew the drill. They were to wake me up and stay upstairs, without peeking, until I could get the video camera setup. I hollared out the “ready set go” and they bounded down the stairs all smiles. Of course I was very excited too and had the camera rolling.
Being the youngest I guess my daughter captured most of my attention initially. She immediately settled into enjoying and playing with her gifts. Eventually I came to notice my boys who were sitting side by side and whispering to each other. So I asked them what was up. With disappointment on their faces they calmly said that they didn’t get as much or as nice of gifts from Santa this year and they just knew it was because they had been bad.
My heart just sank!
They thought they had been bad???
Being newly single I didn’t quite have the cash flow I had when I was married, but I did what I could to get many of the things that were on the kids Christmas lists. I was not at all prepared for this reaction which was captured by video camera. I guess I didn’t even think spending less on their gifts would be that noticeable.
So, after letting my heart pound for a few minutes as I tried to organize scattered thoughts, I finally hustled the two of them into the kitchen away from my daughter. I had not planned to say what I was about to say and certainly was not ready to have this conversation with my middle son who was, in my mind, too young at the time for THIS conversation.
I told them they were NOT bad and that I hadn’t intended for them to know this now, but…… that I was Santa Claus. With tears in my eyes and sincerity in my heart, I quietly and quickly told them I was sorry they felt disappointed with their gifts. But, I just didn’t have the money to spend on gifts in the way I had been able to in the past. I told them I hoped they could understand and asked that they not tell their sister. I said, for as long as we made sure she believed, they would continue to get gifts from “Santa” too. Just as I got all that out, my daughter came into the kitchen looking for me. So, I led her back in the living room leaving the boys behind in the kitchen to soak up the news.
Well not two minutes later the boys were by my side on the couch with tears in their eyes saying THEY were sorry. They said they appreciated their gifts and wondered if we could have a Christmas do over because they wanted to be excited on the video. So – with tears in all our eyes but with bigger smiles on our faces we did just that – we had a Christmas do over for the video camera.
For all the parents out there who wonder sometimes if your children will ever appreciate what you do and what you have been through – I can tell you that very likely, if they don’t appreciate things now, one day they will. And for everyone else, if a quiet and quick heartfelt conversation can lead to greater understanding, well, it is worth a do over.
The photos are from our 2005 Christmas Card. Merry Christmas.
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