Saturday, September 8, 2007

Santa Claus

I’ve been trying to figure out ways to help me cope in the clusterfuck that is life at work in America these days. There is all kinds of advice out there. All kind of information about how to breathe and how to stretch, and how to take "me" time at work. There is also the advice to bring small personal items to work to soothe yourself during the course of a workday. So I decided that some day when I actually get unpacked I am going to bring some pictures to work.

I have lots of photos, spanning generations of my family. I decided I want to bring one of my Mom and Dad, in it they are both actually younger than I am now. They are staring adoringly at each other, and have that little gleam in their eye that surely would have led to more siblings had my Mom not been spaded as I so eloquently put it. I also want to bring one of my cats, because I am sure it will be much easier for me to acquire 96 more and become the weird old lady with 98 cats if everyone knows I am a cat person. Finally, I decided I will bring a picture I have of me and Minnie on Santa’s lap.

I remember the day the picture was taken, but not precisely what year. Looking at the picture I am pretty sure it was the year that I was 6 and Minnie was two. I am thinking this was when it was because this was the summer that Minnie was sporting a partially self-inflicted mullet, and it is quite evident in the photo. It was in November, really on the heals of Halloween, and well before Thanksgiving, not to mention Christmas. I was sitting in our downstairs hallway petting our dog, whom my Mom referred to as the best babysitter we ever had. When I looked up and there was Santa! coming out of the dining room. Now, I will be honest with you, I was more nosy than amazed at the sight of him. The prior year nosiness had caused me to go on a covert search for my Mom’s perfume which I was not allowed to touch and had resulted in my being fully divested me of the notion of Santa, AND the Easter Bunny, AND the Tooth Fairy. So, basically, what I said was; "hey Daddy, how come you’re dressed up like Santa?"

Right then both my Mom and Dad and My Brother and Holly Hobby shushed me so that Minnie did not know it was Daddy. Then my Daddy took me in the dining room and told me why he was dressed up like Santa. See, my Dad was the stereotypical fat dude, often pressed into Santa duty. All happy and friendly, and profoundly gifted in dealing with children, particularly in the guise of Santa. Right up until the Christmas before he died, my Dad made many calls on every Christmas Eves to the children and grandchildren of friends and family, encouraging kids to go to bed early so he can keep his schedule and visit all the kids that night. Assuring them he and the reindeer adore the snacks the children had planned. So this year, some parents of a little boy who went to the same grammar school as me and Holly and My Brother, had asked my Dad to play Santa for their son.

He was in fourth grade, and he was very, very sick. He had cancer, and was going to die, and there was nothing to be done to help him get better. He was going to die soon, probably before Christmas. So, his Mommy and Daddy wanted to make a surprise for him. So my Dad agreed to do whatever he could to help them. That is why my Dad was dressed up like Santa in early November. My Dad actually owned a Santa suit, and a Santa sack. The boy’s Mommy and Daddy gave him presents to put in the sack. Before my Dad left, Minnie discovered him. She was so excited. She did not care if Santa had stuff for her. She did not know if was Daddy. She was just so excited. So my Dad told her he was visiting our town to double-check his list. He pulled me and Minnie onto his lap, and my Mom took our picture.

It is a really good picture, a Polaroid, that I had made into prints for me and Minnie the second Christmas after our parents died. My Dad is holding us both tightly, Minnie is in absolute hog heaven oblivious to the fact it is our Dad, and I am smirking smugly because I know it is him. My Dad is smiling, but his eyes are haunted and grateful. So, I figured this is a really good picture to bring to work with me. It always makes me smile. It reminds how absolutely beloved and wanted and cherished all of my parents children were to them, and it most importantly reminds me that work is inconsequential.

1 comment:

SkippyMom said...

But don't you see? You just did.

Very sweet. You are what I hope my daughters grow up to be.