Yesterday morning, through the speaker I heard the sweet, small voice of my five-year-old singing:
“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar”
So precious. And, that’s how I started my day. The usual fussing and rushing and morning banter ensued. We hurried. Well, I hurried. They more like lounged. Excitedly laughing because it was Field Day at their school and the day that I got to read to each of their classes. I was excited about reading, as well. Maybe even more so because I love going to their classrooms and getting a glimpse into their school day. Anyway, you get the picture? It was a busy morning.
Somewhere in all of this they started perusing the Christmas catalogs that have already started to come in the mail. They’ve begun compiling very extensive lists, as usual. I see that the iphone is back (cracks me up!) as is the ipad or “tablet of your (Santa’s) choice”, another American Girl doll, assorted games, a bike, etc. Craziness! I listened to them politely, then took the opportunity to remind them that first of all, Christmas is really about Christ – no toys necessary. Then, I told them that Santa Clause operates on a budget and they’re not going to get all of that stuff so choose wisely. They understood the reference to Christ but, the other part was received with blank stares.
Flashback: The year was 1995 and my oldest son, Mr. C was 5 – years – old. The movie Toy Story had just come out and the toys from the movie were hot that holiday season. I wasn’t for taking him to see the mall Santa and he was good with that. I think we both thought it was a bit creepy. Besides, he had already hammered out his list and mailed it to Santa so everything was going according to plan. By the way, there was not one Toy Story toy on his list. Not even a Buzz Lightyear. However, my mother thought it down right a dereliction of my motherly duties not to take him to see mall Santa. Mind you, I do not recall ever seeing a photo of me with mall or real Santa. Really, Mom? Really? Funny how grandmothers are totally different people from the woman you call Mom. I digress. So, she did it and insisted that I come with. I guess she wanted to show me how to do this whole Santa thing right. I figured that it was going to be harmless, slightly weird and pass quickly. Not so much. My precious little boy climbed up on mall Santa’s lap and proceeded to add to his already carefully planned, already mailed and already purchased list a Buzz Lightyear….in silver. It was one week before Christmas and Mr. C had asked for the hottest toy of the season. Really, this should have been my mother’s problem, but it wasn’t, it was mine and I was doomed. Darn that mall Santa! Why didn’t he say “Are you kidding me? You’re way too late for that, kid!” No, it was up to me to be the Christmas crusher. I did ask him why he added Buzz to his list. His response? “I don’t know. It sounded like a good idea!”
I returned to work on Monday morning and informed my admin that we really were not going to be working that day. We called Walmart, Kmart, Sears, Toys R us, etc. in multiple states looking for a silver Buzz Lightyear. Things were looking bleak when toward the end of the day, one of my friends then living in Colorado called to say that she had located one and was having it sent to me. I am forever in her debt. Rejoicing ensued and I vowed to take action to make sure that this never happened again. That day I decided to tell Mr. C. the truth about Santa. After work I sat down with him and said “Sweetheart, you can’t ask Santa for everything that you want and expect to get it. You must prioritize because Santa runs a corporation.” He looked at me and said “a corporation?” “Yes, a corporation.” What truth did y’all think that I was talking about? I’m no Christmas crusher, destroyer of dreams or killer of imagination. Anyway, I went on to explain that the elves were his employees and there were budgetary constraints – pension plans, health insurance, 401(k) and don’t forget the factory shut down during the months of June and July. It’s a good gig if you can meet the height requirements. Therefore, each child has a specific dollar amount that Santa can spend on their list and everything may not be possible. When I was done, he paused for a bit, then said “Okay, Momma.”
Listen, I’m the mom that told her kid that Goldilocks was at the very least guilty of trespassing, if not breaking and entering. Therefore, this should not be surprising to you.
So, on this past Friday morning I repeated the whole North Pole corporate scenario to the Dynamic Duo in hopes of lowering expectations. They actually had a lot of questions. I had to think fast. Note to file: Girls ask A LOT more questions than boys. They seemed more than a bit skeptical, but eventually, they got the hint that they needed to focus on only a couple of things on each or their lists. They gathered their things, put on their shoes and waited by the door. Just then Thing 2 said “Just think, if Mommy and Daddy say that dogs cost a lot of money to take care of, what about reindeer?!”