Did That Actually Work?

My son was completely on board with going to school today.

He ate something, he turned off the computer without argument, and he dressed with enthusiasm – undies, pants, shirt.

When we got to the socks and shoes, he decided he would rather sit on the couch.

He sank into the cushions.  My heart sank into my gut.

I was okay with his missing yesterday.  He was coughing and he really seemed like he wasn’t feeling well.

But today?  No way.  No way! He could NOT stay home.

I told him three or four more times to put on his socks and shoes.

And then he uttered the dreaded words, “no school.”

“Yes, school.”  I said.  “Please put on your socks and shoes.”

No response, except heavier limbs sinking into the couch.

Again I said “please put on your socks and shoes.”

Still nothing.

With huge and purposeful concern screwing up my face, I quietly stated “I’m going to have to talk to Santa and tell him not to bring any presents on Christmas.”

The little boy ran down the hall and grabbed his socks, then sat on the floor and put them on in front of me.  The shoes came next.

Did that actually work?!?

It did!

He understands the fairy tale.  Santa brings the presents.  Ha!

I cannot tell you how much that cheers me.

He always looks forward to Christmas.

We decorate the calendar, we mark off the days, we celebrate and we have traditions, but I never know how much of it he believes.

I have always wanted him to experience the same sense of wonder and joy that I did at his age – the anticipation, the merry making, the singing, the yummy food – all of it.

But especially Santa, because my feelings about Santa are hopelessly intertwined with my love and memory of my dad.

I’ve always had a lump in my throat waiting for the moment when my dad came to mean as much to my son as he does to me.  The Santa thing makes me feel like it’s actually possible.

To the little boy, Santa and Grandpa are both snapshots in front of him, one maybe not so different from the other.

If he gets the two a bit confused, I’m okay with that.

For me, they’re sort of the same person anyway.

Yes, the presents are foremost in the boy’s mind.  He has been circling pictures in the toy catalogs for a week, but  today I saw a glimmer of something in him that I haven’t seen before.

For some reason, it makes me feel hopeful about the holidays and about my son’s ability to live an enchanted life.  And that’s my father’s legacy.

This is good.

On Saturday, I was gone for several hours.

Our house rules are a little different when I’m away.  😉

For example, husband has no scotch tape preservation clause in his daddy manual.

I’ve decided I’m okay with that because look what I found when I got home:

We should all see our names like this at least once in our lives, right?

A few minutes after I arrived, he started methodically taping those pens to the wall down our laundry hallway.

He affixed them at a variety of heights and distances from one another.

I wish we’d snapped a photo of that too.

There was a mysterious order to it that we will probably never understand.

In case you’re a glutton for punishment, here are your pumpkin pals…

Day Nine 2010 Pumpkin Demise

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  If I ever order veggie fajitas at Applebees again, I’m gonna ask them to go easy on the poblano pepper sauce.  My tongue doesn’t feel right.  😳


Missing Stories

My dad used to go get doughnuts before I woke up on the weekends.  When I walked sleepily into the kitchen and found them there, my eyes would grow wide with wonder.

“Where did they come from?!” I would ask, peering into the big flat box.

“A bear on a motorcycle brought them!” he would tell me, feigning surprise.

“Really?”  I’d ask.

“Really.”  he’d say.  His eyes would sparkle, but I’d believe him.

As I grew older, I began to poke holes in his story.

How could a bear possibly know how much I loved the little round cinnamon crumb cake?  I had never talked to the bear, but that doughnut was always in the box.

How could a bear possibly carry the doughnuts and ride a motorcycle?  Did he have a special rack on the back just for strapping in pastries?  That seemed unlikely.  Bears were surely too cool for a ride with a rack.

Why did I never hear the motorcycle or see it out the window?  My dad assured me “it was magic, of course, and could never be seen by a child.”  Hmmm.

Where did the bear carry his money?  Did he have a special pocket for keeping the change he took into the doughnut shop?  And why did the shopkeeper never shoo him out?  He was, after all, a bear.

When my suspicions were finally confirmed, I had lost some interest in the magic of fairy tales.  I knew Dad was the bear, Santa and the Tooth Fairy all rolled into one.  (Mom is the Easter Bunny, but that’s another post.)

In my teens, I was a far more skeptical audience for my father’s fables, and yet, he never failed to tell them.  He was an educated man who knew a little bit of everything and he could tell you the truth of it all, but he delighted in the designing of elaborate and fanciful stories all his own.

After I moved away from home, my dad would sometimes call me and leave long complicated tales of this or that on my answering machine.  He would disguise his voice and pretend to be some important businessman with a message I just had to hear.  I sometimes laughed and sometimes rolled my eyes and I think he knew that, but he kept on doing it.

Now that my dad is gone, I wish I could listen to my messages and find him there again.  I miss his commitment to whimsy.

My mom used to say she wanted just one more day with dad, just one more chance to talk about things.  I guess I’d like that day too.  If I got it, I don’t think I’d bother with unfinished business.  I wouldn’t ask him what he thought of me or tell him what I thought of him.  I wouldn’t try to right any wrongs or smooth any wrinkles.  No.  None of that.

If I could see my dad again, I think I’d just buy us some doughnuts and ask him for a story.