Thanksgiving weekend, I took my 5 year old son Andy downtown to Macy’s to have lunch with Santa Clause. This was a special Mommy and Andy day for us and he was looking forward to it all week. I had no idea what to expect because Andy has always had a fear of people dressed in character, whether it be Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Disney Characters or the Mascot at a sporting event. He cries bloody murder and does not want to go near them.
When Andy was first born I would try really hard and get my hopes up that he would smile nicely and take a picture. It is a fun tradition of taking pictures of these Kodak moments. But after the first couple years of no luck, I just decided it was not worth the hassle and I was not going to focus my energies on forcing him to take a picture, it was a no win battle.
So needless to say, I really had no high expectations for what would happen this year. A friend of ours was playing Mrs. Clause and I thought well, he knows my friend Beth, so maybe he will at least take a picture with her, but really had no expectations of what would happen when he saw Santa Clause.
What happened the rest of the afternoon blew me away. We were standing in line to enter the ballroom and Andy said, “Mommy are we going to see the REAL Santa Clause”. My reply was “Do you want to see the REAL Santa Clause?“ He said “I think so. I am not afraid of the REAL Santa Clause mommy.” As we stood in line, I just breathed in his words and thought, maybe there is hope.
We sat down to have our lunch and Santa walked over to greet us. Andy said he was not afraid. He was super excited that Santa came to our table. He observed very closely everything that was going on in the room and wanted to know when we were going to be able to go up and meet him. I sat there in pure amazement.
Then it was time for getting in line for Santa pictures. He was ready and couldn’t get in line fast enough. He looked excited. It was such a pleasure to be present and in the moment enjoying my son as he experienced this day. When it was his turn for Santa, he walked over and hopped on Santa’s lap like he had done it 100 times. There are no words to express the overwhelming feelings of joy and gratitude that I felt in being present and witnessing my son’s excitement. I almost forgot to take the picture. I just relished in the moment of watching my son. Tears rolled down my face and I could feel chills down my spine as I enjoyed this sweet moment. After I witnessed this moment, I then squatted down to take a picture to capture his pure joy.
I even bought a special ornament as a keepsake to remember this day. Every year at Christmas time, I will be able to think back to this beautiful memory that we experienced together.
For anyone else in line, this could have been just another day and another year with a picture with Santa. But this day, this moment, I will NEVER forget. It will be etched in my heart and soul my entire life. The day that my son was brave, curious, excited and believed. The day he let go of his fears and acted on his belief in himself, in me and in Santa. As I reflected, I have gone through a lot of transformation this past year and as I let go of my expectations and start living in the moment and BEING me, I allow my family to BE themselves too, not the version of what I want them to be. In this case, my presence of being in the flow with no expectations allowed Andy the freedom to BE himself too. He no longer needed to be afraid and was allowed to enjoy life BEING Andy, a 5 year old little boy.