Saturday, December 19, 2009

He believes

A friend in town owns a little restaurant and last night she hosted a bunch of families from the neighborhood for a potluck and visit with Santa Claus. This is the third year we've attended, (see our first time here,) but the first that Calder was anxious and excited to see the jolly old elf.

The kids pressed against the door trying to hear his sleigh bells and catch their first glimpse.

Then they gathered around as he "Ho Ho Ho'd" and took a gift from his sack for each of them.

Calder climbed right up there and sat down with great intent this year. He had planned on discussing a very specific toy with Santa but couldn't get a word in edgewise. I overheard Santa ask him, "Have you been a good girl this year?" Oh man. The kid in the Denver Ski Lodge shirt, brown cords, red rubber boots... and long blond hair... must be a girl. Harumph!

He was gracious. Took his toy and climbed down off the seat to make room for the next child. When he made it over to his dad, gramma and aunt I could tell he was not okay. Then he opened the gift - a robot claw grabber that he's admired in the past - and the tears started flowing. See, last Tuesday Calder saw a special piece of equipment driving around our neighborhood. It was a small, agile, loader-type truck with a pie-shaped attachment on the front for scooping up the piles of leaves that folks raked into the gutters. Well, he spent the rest of the week proclaiming that that was what he hoped to get for Christmas. And when he found out he was going to meet Santa he said he would ask him for one. I was stumped. I didn't know what this thing was called (and as Calder's mother I know the names of so many trucks you wouldn't even believe.) I checked the local toy store and the Siku and Bruder web sites to no avail. Then I called the sanitation department and spoke with the guy in charge of their fleet. He explained that they had actually made that attachment in their shop. It's one-of-a-kind. So, I realized early on that I wouldn't be able to square this surprise away for Santa to give to the boy.

But for a while there after opening his gift Calder was devastated. You see, he believes strongly in Santa Claus this year, so he thought Santa would know exactly what he was wishing for and be able to make it happen. It was very sad to watch him suffer this blow, this realization or disappointment or whatever it was. Jeff thinks he was just bummed that he didn't get the truck. I wonder if it was more that the magic was being brought into doubt.

There are two things that I'm thankful for: One, after a few moments alone to cry and be sad, Calder took up his new grabber and proceeded to enjoy his toy and attract the attention of most of the other kids in the place. And second, the man at the sanitation department said that one-of-a-kind truck would be roaming our neighborhood every Tuesday for three weeks after Christmas picking up the trees people place at the curb. Perhaps we'll get to hail down the driver and get an up-close and personal look at this cool piece of equipment. You never know. Santa's (and mama's) magic work in many many ways.

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