Every year, the same dilemma.
To tell Jake about Santa, or not?
I don't have the heart, it would crush him entirely, and I don't want to be the one to tell him. I'm hoping we can tell him that once he turns 21 that Santa stops coming because you're a grown up!
Last year we saw, what he considered "the real Santa" on the National Mall downtown. We went with a friend Diane and it was a magical day. He was "in it", as were we, and Santa was amazing. Not many jolly old elves would want a huge kid sitting on his old, probably reconstructed, knee.
We went today in search of that real Santa. The National Christmas tree is lit up and Santa was at the tree-lighting ceremony, so I assumed (with quick confirmation from the internet) that old man St. Nick would stick around to make all Jake's dreams come true!
This morning, after two time-outs, electronics restrictions, a piano lesson and a wild dance class, we headed down the highway for DC. He was passed out cold in the passenger seat as I chugged day-old Mountain Dew to stay awake for this 30 minute drive. My head was bobbying and eye lids heavy.
I missed my turn in DC the first time while navigating around tourists, (or maybe I was alseep), we tripped around the same block twice and I finally snagged a parking spot on the main drag!
It was pouring rain as we puddle-jumped our way down the block to the tree, where Santa was set up last year. Jake spotted a few police officers and of course wanted to say hello. So we headed over and said "hi" to some Park Police officers that informed us that "there must be some budget cuts or something, Santa can't make it this year." My eyes popped out of my head.
I thought the tears were going to burst out of Jake's right then. I saw the frown and the quivering lip as my brain raced to cushio the officer's bluntness. No fault to him, he's speaking to a kid who's 5'8" and 150 -- never thought he'd still "believe" from first glance.
"Whoa, Santa must be so busy this year! Are there really that many good kids?" I interjected.
Officer Hector caught on quickly, threw me a wink, and asked Jake if he was one of the "good ones". Jake responded with an energetic "YES", but was getting more sad by the second.
We went over to the Park Police office and found another officer on a bike. Jake asked him too, "Nope budget cuts bud!" Jake had all he could do to whisper, "Geez, that's a shame. A big shame!" as we walked back to my poorly parallel parked car. (the fact that this wasn't a meltdown is a miracle)
Once in the car, Jake asked if I was going to cry. I said "No, but you can if you want."
"We could find Santa maybe at the shopping mall?"
I said he might be there, but I was exhausted. But he reminded me we had been planning for 3 days to see Santa on Saturday, so we were going to see him TODAY!
To the mall we go. We schlep through the same monsoon to the doors full of knee-high finger smudges and make a bee-line directly to the big red chair in the center of the mall.
There he was!!
While weaving around the building to the line, I could see the smile on Jake's face connect his ears. We get to the line to find a teenage manager, wearing her responsibility very well. "I'm really sorry but Santa is going on a break for one hour. You will have to come back then or another day."
"Are you serious?" Knowing that we were both exhausted and Jake usually melts around 5pm, I pathetically begged her to let us be last in this section.
"No, I'm sorry."
"Oh you are NOT, I snarkily whispered as we walked away."
Into the Radio Shack, Sears, Macy's, Candy store, and bathrooms we go. Zig zagging the mall in our huge boots, mittens and cheeseburger ear muffs we waste time until 3:50.
As we approach the line there have to be 30 kids already in the que, pulling out the fake snow, throwing it at each other and getting scolded right there within earshot of the great elf himself.
I was dreading this line, my feet hurt, I sweating through my three layers of clothing and was starving at this point.
"Oh, mom let's just deal. Look, Santa is right there, he's right there!"
Jake was doing way better than I was, laughing at the little children behind us because "they acted like you (him) when you (he) was a baby!" Then he spotted a little baby in front of us with 52 tiny rubber bands in her short curls and Jake started playing peek-a-boo with her. I was shocked! Then he leaned over and whispered into my ear that "I want to have a baby like that one day!"
We're next up in line, thank GGGGOOODDD! Birds and bees talk in line surrounded by little children and hyper parents... not so good.
"Come on over here, young man," Santa waved.
Jake grabbed my iPhone, where he stored a picture of his desired electric blanket. He put it right up to Santa's nose. Santa grabbed it, adjusted his specs and put the picture at arm's length to see the picture. "Oh an electric blanket, ho ho ho, I can do that!" he yelled while looking for confirmation from me.
Another giant grin.
"And I also want dress up clothes with matching ties and socks! I need new riding pants and lots of horse stuff!"
Now Santa is glaring at me, and Mrs. Claus is rolling her eyes.
I shot a snarly look at her while thinking, oh lady you have no idea what I've done already today, and coaxed Jake to smile.
We paid, we pee'd, and got the heck out of that mall after a mere 3 hours!
When does this Santa saga end?
How 'bout 13!!!
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