Diana had to work Sunday, which is usually reserved for family time. Diana didn’t want me to tell the boys she was working, for fear it would screw them up. Aside from constructing a faux Diana using pillows, a mop and a wine glass, I wasn’t sure how I’d distract them from noticing their mother wasn’t home.
So I threw a Hail Mary and said we were going to visit Santa Claus.
We arrived at the mall fully prepared for a massive line and it did not disappoint. The suburbanites waiting to see the big fat man with the long white beard stretched all the way to Neiman Marcus. But one of the three of us was determined to see Santa.
It dawned on me pretty quickly that you were supposed to get your photo taken at the end of the line. What with all the moms combing, primping and braiding their children. I quickly whipped off the boys’ winter hats and jackets and the results were inane. No amount of spit on Earth could tame Elijah’s bed head. Luca’s hair looked like he cut it himself. I didn’t even attempt to spit on that lost cause.
A good half hour into the line, Elijah and Luca decided they did not want to meet Santa.
“My stomach has butterflies,” Eli moaned grabbing his stomach.
“I am not going to sit with Santa, no way, “Luca added.
“Look,” I said preparing to lay it on thick. “This is your one chance to tell Santa what you want for Christmas. This is THE guy. See that security guard with the acne? They brought in extra security because this is really Santa. Really. You can tell HIM what you want and he can make it happen. So who is with me?”
The idea that this was actually St. Nick made it worse. Luca collapsed to the floor and said, “I’m too scared. You have to tell him what I want. I can’t do it.” And I won’t sit on his lap. I’ll stand. But you have to stand with me and hold my hand.”
We finally made it to the front of the line and they closed off the rope directly behind us, saying after these two urchins, Santa was taking a one hour break. I looked at my fingernails, pretending not to hear the outrage of parents who had been waiting an hour already.
Santa took a long pull from his water bottle and said to an assistant, “Santa needs a break, Jeff. Santa can’t take this much longer.” Jeff tried to assure him these two messy haired kids would go fast.
Which was fine, because the boys didn’t want to be there either.
Santa asked the proper questions. Eli responded clearly and I, acting as Luca’s proxy, told him exactly which Rescue Bots to carry down our chimney.
I finally got Luca to sit on my lap for the photo, but not before Santa said, “It was close this year. Really touch and go. But I have decided to put you both on the good list.”
At this news I thought Luca was going to throw up on Mrs. Claus. But in the end we got the photo.