Just let that wash over you…and almost drown you with the sudden realization that there is much to do and little time in which to do it!
Thankfully, despite all that “goes wrong” each season what floats to the top of everyone’s memory banks long after this season is over is only the happy memories.
Last week, we made a deposit into the happy memories bank by going to our town’s annual Christmas tree lighting event, complete with parade and arrival of Santa himself. I have it on good authority that this was, in fact, the real Santa as dear husband was participating in the parade so he had close access. It. was. Santa.
Did you pick up on that just now? Hubs was participating in the parade. You know what that means, right?
That means that I am going to be managing the Christmas magic and wonder of three little children at dusk and into the evening, surrounded by thousands of strangers….all by myself.
Sweet Jesus and all the angels, please help me keep track of these children and please make them listen to me.
First things first. We had to cross a major state highway to get to the city hall lawn. No big deal…except we quickly realize that baby girl has a much smaller pace than the others so we quickly fall behind. A quick scoop of baby girl into my arms and a reminder to boy child and girl child to stay right by me and we make it across the road just before the light turns.
Next…we are early so I begin one of my enlightening speeches about how we aren’t buying anything right now and not to ask and I’m not made of money and nothing’s open yet and just be patient. I’m sure you have a similar speech in your repertoire. The kids love it.
A couple of “hey, we’re having a great time! Not worried about this situation at all!” pics and then we head into where the grand tree is sitting in all it’s unlit glory.
We approach a vendor tent as they are setting up and out of nowhere this lady hands us all light sabers and lighted giant candy cane sticks! For free! My gut reaction in all honesty was “crap, now I have three awkward toys to hold all evening once the kids tire of holding them.” But then I quickly realized how I was looking at this situation all wrong! These were access points to each child…and they wouldn’t let go of these new treasures if they were given the ultimatum of handing them over or leaving before seeing Santa. (For the record, no such ultimatum was given…but these kids were hardcore about these light sticks!)
I have three children but only two hands so I rate the children on possible flight risk. Baby girl is through the roof so she always needs to hold my hand. Boy child, God bless him, will follow a butterfly into another city if given the chance so he gets my other hand. Girl child is Miss Responsible…I love this quality about her.
So, with a finger free from boy child’s grasp, I grab girl child’s light saber. This connects us into a gnarly clump of smiling children adorned with light sabers and blinky candy cane glory.
In a lull as we wait for the parade to start, I take this opportunity to remind the children to stay close to me and to not get lost. They also love this speech.
The parade goes off like Christmas magic…Daddy on the lead float playing Christmas music on his cornet and we yell and holler for him as he passes by. The parade ends with Santa and everyone immediately gets up to walk toward the Christmas tree in the square.
The children all seem to know what I’m looking for…a little hand, a larger hand and a light saber. Once I have these, we join the crowd and walk over to the tree and it’s only then in the darkness, surrounded by what I believe/hope are all lovely people, but strangers none the less…it hits me what I can tell the kids so they have a way to find me if they get lost.
“Kids!! If you get lost or we get separated…come to this giant tree and stand at the base of it. I will come find you here!” Parenting gold right there.
Of course it’s like two hours into this event and we are in our last twenty or so minutes.
But still. Better late than never, right?
All I can say is…I started out with three children at this event and I left with three children. And they got a good deposit into their happy memories bank account. And they got light sabers. And some candy.