This is a true story.
Last week, I had the pleasure of getting together with two of my long-time girlfriends. I met these lovely ladies when we were all about 13-years-old. One of them, I just recently reconnected with after about a five-year period of time, where we both became so distracted by family responsibilities, we temporarily lost our connection. The other one, I had not seen in about 10 years for probably the same reason. The three of us were very close friends from middle school on. Life separated us for a while, but has now brought us back together. Thank you, life. I think all three of us anticipated our gathering with a sense of excitement. We met at a place in the middle, because one of us comes from Washington and the other two of us from Oregon. Our meeting place was a nice local seafood restaurant. We sat in the lounge. Our waiter was Jonnie. He was adorable, funny and a really good waiter. He was young enough that some of us thought we could be his mother (I'm the one in our threesome who has a harder time seeing myself as having a 31-year-old child. My oldest is 23). Anyway, we happened to find out that Jonnie was going to be away from his work for the next couple of weeks, because he is about to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! How amazing is that! We wished him well and good luck, and told him "we'd be back in the future to see pictures." What a joyful beginning to our reunion.
Next we walked to a small mall, just a parking lot a way. My friends wanted us to have our picture taken with Santa. We arrived to the Santa scene with our lip gloss on and ready for pictures, but there was no Santa. Santa's shift had ended for that day just 30 minutes prior. Wah, Wah, Waaah. We were a bit disappointed, but were full of fun and started respectfully taking pictures of each other posing in Santa's chair. About a minute goes by and suddenly my friend who was behind the camera lens, spots someone to her left. Walking around the corner was a jolly man with white hair, and a full white beard. He also had slightly rosy cheeks. He was wearing jeans and a motorcycle jacket. He looked like a Santa who'd just gotten off work. My friend asked, with a glimmer of true belief in her eyes, "Are you Santa?" He smiled and said "no, but I could be." She then asked if he "would mind sitting in the Santa chair and letting us take a picture with him." He said "sure." So that's what we did. It took only a few minutes, and then he was gone, just as quickly as he had appeared around that corner. He smelled like spearmint and artisan soap. I don't think any of us asked him his name. I think we already thought we knew it. Let me just say that we all walked away from that Santa chair with more holiday spirit than we'd had before that moment. Thank you, Santa man. I hope you know that you made me and my friends very happy that night.
I was raised with the idea of Santa. I taught my own children that the holiday season is about "a spirit of giving, and spending joyful time with family and friends." I still feel that way.
This can be a hard time of year, with all the met and unmet expectations this season can bring. I used to sort of dread the holidays, because at one point it became more work than play. I've already experienced some great fun this season. Gratitude and love to you K and P.
I wish everyone a season of peace. However you do or do not celebrate, I hope you find a special moment that warms your heart and makes you smile, too.