It is that time of the year again, and I wanted to be the first to send in my wish list. The following isn’t a list like the usual unrealistic requests you receive for new siblings, ponies, backyard Ferris wheels, and pet owls. I really only have one request, but it comes with a few instructions:
- Please don’t let me be one of those moms: “A Santa Photograph Mom”! A mom with a small brown and gold album that says in sparkle letters, “Once upon a time…” A mom that adds a new Santa picture to the album every year, and proudly thrusts the album into visitor’s hands. A mom that knows, but seemingly doesn’t care, that her children don’t share her love for this activity.
- Please don’t let us be that family pretending to be happy standing in the Santa line hours before Santa is scheduled to arrive. The children are bouncing on feet with springs in them, and happily rambling about seeing Santa as if they are life-long friends, while the parents stand reveling in thoughts about the perfection of this year’s Santa photo. Perfection, really?
- Please don’t let my child become that child! The only child in the Santa line who changes from quivering with excitement to a child frozen in terror at the sound of Santa’s jiggle bell approach. The child, who at the first sight of Santa, springs into full survival mode and completes a beautiful Indiana Jones dive behind the Santa sign which barely escapes flipping over under the force of the child’s retreat. The only child who is scrambling on all fours to reach the safety of a bench several feet away.
- Please don’t let us be that mother and child! The mother wrestling and dragging her child toward his turn with Santa. The child with his feet rooted to the ground; the child that with no amount of coaxing will believe the terror of being forced into this strange man’s company is supposed to be happy and fun.
- Please don’t let my Santa photo be the one with the child whose tears have thankfully subsided, momentarily anyway. The photo where the child still refuses to sit on a strange man’s lap, but who stands beside Santa casting questionable sidelong glances. The Santa photo where the child is barely able to stand beside Santa long enough to grant his dear mother a photograph for her treasured Santa book.
- Please don’t let me be that mom who is busy thinking about how this year’s Santa photo has traumatized her child. The mom who while suffering in these thoughts of trauma takes a minute to hear her child rambling happily about seeing Santa, eager to share his experience with his friends. A mom who is now confused about whether her and her child just lived through the same emotionally exhausting experience.
That said, I am sending in my Santa letter early.
Dear Santa, please let this year’s Santa photo be a good one…
By Shari Marshall – 2015