Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My twenty-third slice-of-life story...

Santa Shops at Toys 'R Us...

Reid's two and a half; he's curious, he's smart, he's creative.  He's fueled by books and conversation.  For the past three Christmases, more tales about Santa have shown up at bedtime than he could shake a stick at.  "Santa has a red suit, a white beard, makes his toys at the North Pole, and says 'Ho, ho, ho.'"  All these tidbits he holds onto as truth.

From a parent's perspective though, I'm wondering how to be Santa...how to grow the myth of Santa...and how to balance Santa with our belief system.  I've canvassed friends and family members with this series of questions, and what I've found is that answers vary like snowflakes.  And, we're late to the party --- we haven't yet developed our system.  But, the time is drawing nigh to create one. 

I'd admit, this year my Christmas shopping has been moved to the back burner more than old chili.  Procrastination landed us at Toys 'R Us Saturday night amidst the mayhem defined in my dictionary as 'driven {desperate} loved ones out in hard-core shopping mode for special wishlist items.'  I've never seen anything like it --- obscene lines, mountainous carts, a sea of serious faces.  And, there we were with our little one in tow. 

Which, now, brings me back to our Santa situation.

Behind fourteen other tired shoppers at check-out, we shifted our weight and clumsily balanced our patience and packages.  My husband and I tried like champs to keep our chosen items above toddler-eye level; but, with each passing minute they became heavier, more cumbersome, and droopier.

Until...I heard an unfamiliar sound...and looked down to see tiny balls popping like corn in the toy leaf blower my husband lovingly picked out for our little task master. 

"It sounds like a hand dryer but it isn't as lownd!" Reid pronounced.

Alright.  What do we do with the present now?  It's like damaged goods because the kiddo has a mind like a steel trap.  In the car, the bathtub, or at his sitters, he will at some point casually recount the shopping excursion in copious detail.  (He does this often with memories we assume he'd forget post-haste.) 

Maybe, part of the story we'll weave is that an invisible Santa does all his shopping alongside mommies and daddies at Toys 'R Us...

Write on,


  1. You captured the shopping scene with "clumsily balanced our patience and packages." You use of alliteration mingled with concrete and abstract is brilliant. You have me thinking as you crafted your ending with the trailing ellipse. Loved it. MHG

  2. I believe I too have moved everything back like 'old chili'. I understand that analogy so well. Now that I have little grandkids again (1 family has a 10 year old-the other just your son's age & a baby) my daughter & I have talked about this. They're keeping it low key one more year, but being at a pre-school has introduced Santa & stuff more than wished. Maybe the blower can be from you, & Santa might bring something else? I like that invisible Santa idea, however. He really does hover around at Christmas, doesn't he? Happy Christmas!

  3. You captured this shopping experience so well. I often feel sorry for poor parents who have to take kids with them. It's a hard job. Many times, standing in line, I would like to offer to help. But I know, in this day and age, a stranger helping is not really an option. Merry Christmas

  4. Yes, I remember that day!
    We used to look like we were shoplifting when we shopped with the kids. We'd distract a child while the other grabbed an item and shoved it under a coat in the shopping cart. Then one would take them to the bathroom for checkout. It actually was quite a few years before my children knew a store was for buying things. They thought of it more as a museum.

  5. I hope you are really proud of this line:
    "we shifted our weight and clumsily balanced our patience and packages."

    As always, I love to read your words. The are crafted so perfectly.


  6. As a parent of young children, I completely feel your pain and was able to understand completely the situation. You described the store perfectly. What a brave woman to are to go shopping on a Saturday night to Toys R Us and to bring your little one. Happy holidays!

  7. This is such a lovely dilemma to have. I am glad you are taking time to appreciate that in the midst of so much DOing.

  8. There is a wonderful book titled So Many Gifts by Anne Marie Pierce. It tells the "back story" of Santa, a man who loved to make things for children. It goes on to relate how he ended up needing "helpers" because the job was too big. Do you see where this story is going...It is a wonderful story that children seem to understand - at whatever age they are with Santa...and especially when they understand that they get to be "helpers" too.


Hi! I'd love to hear what you are thinking right now, so please take a sec and drop me a line. I'm so glad you stopped by today -- thanks a billion. :)