This is his fifth Christmas and this year he’s a believer. We took him to see Santa last week. We went to the good one. The Friday night Mall Santa. Not the Tuesday morning B-Shift guy. Our guy was the real deal. At least the boy thought so.
We got to the mall early at five to beat the rush. It was shift change. Luckily they build in a thirty minute buffer between Santa’s so the kids don’t see one tap out for the other.
“You’re in John. Rough crowd today.”
“I can tell. Is that gum in your beard?”
Our A team Kris Kringle apparently started his shift at 5:30. It was five and we had to wait. I thought this would be an issue. Little boys aren’t known for their patience. I started pulling out the old tricks.
“Wanna go look at the train display?” I asked him.
“Go look around the toy store?”
“Get some ice cream and eat is real slowly?”
“What do you want to do?”
“I want to sit here and wait for Santa.”
And sit and wait we did. For thirty minutes. Patiently.
He’d hear a phone ring in the distance.
“Oh! Is that Santa!”
He’d hear the jingle of someone passing into the jewelry store.
“I hear Santa! I hear Santa!”
“Not this time, Son. Soon though. Soon.”
Never in his his nearly five years on Earth has he sat so still and eager.
In years past I’d review the script of what he was to do when he got up to Santa.
“And then you will walk up to that stranger and smile at the camera and tell him what you would like for Christmas and that you’ve been a good boy.”
Not this year. He wrote it himself. He only wanted one thing. And when he ran up and sat on Santa’s lap he delivered. He made fools of the crying kids after him. He high fived us when he jumped down and relayed the conversation to us.
It’s going to be a fun Christmas.
Luckily, we know what that one thing is.