This past weekend, Dad and I took our kids on the annual Santa trip. We are never sure what to expect from those moments -- will they be willing to wait on line? Will they try to run away? What will they think when they are face to face with the big guy? But we can't be afraid to do things that everyone else just takes for granted, right?
That's always our question. We know that there are opportunities, but we have to decide whether it's worth the risk every time. Sometimes, because of Big Brother, there really is no question -- he wants to go and he deserves to go. We just try to prepare ourselves for whatever Ballerina and Music Man will do. This is one of those times. Big Brother believes in Santa. And he knows he wants certain specific packages to be waiting for him under the tree. If he doesn't tell Santa himself (or at a minimum one of Santa's authorized helpers/dopplegangers) he has no way to know if Santa will get the message. So, off to Santa we went.
I also should say that visiting Santa is a measure for us as parents. We go to the same location every year. They are set up (about) the same way every year. And every year, we try to ascertain how Ballerina and Music Man are progressing, and how we as parents are growing in our willingness to take chances with our kids to give them these experiences. We always purchase the images (and the copyright protection) so we can track these experiences over time.
So, this year, we went on Sunday. We checked online and learned that the mall was opening at 10 and Santa would be arriving at 11. So, we knew we wanted to arrive at the mall around 10:30. That way we would be near the front of the line, at least hopefully. So, we made an effort to have everything we would possibly need and then headed off to the mall.
We got there a little later than we planned, mainly because we got a slightly later start then we planned. But we were still only the 4th or 5th family on line. As soon as Dad joined the line with the boys, out came his phone. Big Brother took out his iPod. Big Brother started playing his games. And Dad started a movie -- PARTY DAY by Laurie Berkner Band.
These kids were dancing, playing, singing and having a blast. We had to work to keep them from getting in the way of the shoppers walking around the growing line to see Santa, but they just kept working their way to a darkened store window which had a reflective surface. Ballerina enjoyed staring at her reflection, Music Man was dancing and spinning away and even Big Brother joined in!!!!
The video kept them busy until Santa arrived. Then, since we were so close to the beginning of the line, we moved right into the queue when the gate was opened. We still had a couple of songs left in the movie to pull out when we were waiting for our actual turn, but all together, our wait to see Santa was only about 35 minutes, and that was with us arriving approximately 20 minutes before Santa arrived. Big Brother was happy when it was our turn and then when it was our turn, he went straight onto Santa's lap and they discussed his list. Santa asked to keep the list, just to make sure he didn't forget anything. And, for good measure, we even got a couple of pictures for our efforts.
After we left Santa's lap, we had a few problems. Neither Ballerina nor Music Man wanted to stick around and wait while I paid for the picture. Dad was stuck trying to coral them. Music Man DID manage to get out of the space that Dad created and went into a store. But unlike past experiences, once he reached the back of the store, he turned around and came back to me and took my hand to walk right back to Dad. In the past, he would have been kicking or screaming, or I would have had to go into the store and drag him out, carrying him like a stack of potatoes. So, again, using this as a measure of growth, this was a positive.
So, we drove home, tired but triumphant. All in all, it was a good day!!!!