The Santa Visit

Yesterday I took Danny to see Santa Claus. I’ve been very nervous about the whole thing. We’ve been warned many times about the Santa issue and blind kids. Mostly a problem arises because blind children have such powerful memories for voice recognition. They know right off that this Santa is a) not the same Santa they’ve met before or b) is really Uncle John. Smarty Pants kids, ruining all the Christmas fun for the adults. And, of course, there was the worry that he would sandbag us by asking Santa for something he’s never talked about before which would, of course, be impossible to get at this late date. Ben did that one year by talking about a train set for months before Christmas then, overcome by the heady power of the having Santa’s ear, asking for a puppy instead. (Daddy-O paled visibly and I choked on my own spit.) Thankfully, Santa admitted that puppies were not overly fond of his Toy Bag and tended to get air sick in the sleigh so wasn’t there anything else he wanted??? Whew!

So, it was with some trepidation, and no small amount of priming and practice for Danny, that we ventured to the Mall for The Santa Visit.

We waited in a very small line that, much to Danny’s delight, ran parallel to an escalator (that’s where Brenden, his imaginary friend, lives in case you were unaware) and hid Santa from view. I asked him if he was going to sit on Santa’s lap and have his picture taken. That was a definite NO GO. Danny is not a big fan of the picture taking experience. For him it’s all about a bunch of sitting too still and having everyone tell him to “look up and smile. No. Not that far up…” He simply has no patience for it. So I agreed to no pictures in hopes of a favorable Santa Experience.

We finally reached the front of the line and I got my first look at Santa. Oooh, he was perfect for the role. I don’t know how this Mall does it but every year they find The. Best. Santas. Our Santa was heavy set in his own right but not slovenly or obese like so many of the wannabes I’ve seen over the years. What I really noticed right off the bat was that the portion of his real face that I could see immediately brought to mind Santa’s description from “Twas The Night Before Christmas”.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

He wasn’t sitting on any sort of throne like so many Mall Santas I’ve seen. Instead, he was relaxed in a comfy-looking, green velvet upholstered chair. But when he spoke… oh, when he spoke I fell in love with Santa Claus all over again. His voice was deep timbred and quiet. Smooth and rich like a Hot Buttered Rum. The. Perfect. Santa. Voice.

I mouthed above Danny head that he couldn’t see and his name. (Yet another blind boy perk like buying his Christmas gifts while he’s there with me knowing he can’t see what I’m doing.) As a result, Santa called Danny by name in that deep, buttery voice, and followed it up with a soft ho, ho, chuckle. My heart melted for my son. Danny stood directly in front of Santa’s knees holding his big gloved hands with a giant smile on his face and said very clearly, “Merry Christmas, Santa!”

Thankfully, I wasn’t sandbagged this year – though Santa was a bit perplexed by Danny’s request. He asked for a MOON, and a MICROWAVE, and a BALLOON. Oh, and a BIG BOY BIKE WITH TWO WHEELS. Then he reached up and gave Santa the biggest, hardest hug a little boy has ever given. Every elf in the vacinity gasped out a quiet little “awww.” And my heart melted all over again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon kicking myself for the no photos promise. I’m not sure the sweet image will ever leave my memory. I hope it doesn’t. And I hope most of all that Danny holds that two minutes of Christmas perfection in his heart to share with his own kids someday.

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