Surviving Solo Santa Pictures*

My blog is fixed!!!

I need to do a small husband brag for a minute here… he spent a chunk of time last night looking into what the issue might be, and he worked on it again tonight after a long day where he was on solo parent duty for dinner and bedtime while I was at choir. I told him to go and relax and he helped me instead. He is so clever and handsome and I like him the best. I don’t know how he fixed it, but I’m finally back and it feels soooo good.

I feel like I haven’t really been able to write in the way I’ve wanted to the past few days as a) I’ve been so busy / tired, and b) writing on Facebook just doesn’t have the same homey feel as my blog does. I want to back up a few days to Thursday so that I can share our Santa story with you.

Confession: I’m often afraid to take all three kids place by myself. P is still sometimes unpredictable, and I can be an anxious person in situations that I can’t control. So, I tend to stick to what I know–the park, church, grocery stores, friends’ houses and the library. I know I’m lame, but everybody is happier when I’m not in crazy stress mode. M and I have been trying to figure out when we could both go to take the kids to see Santa and get their yearly photo done, but it seriously already feels like this entire month is already booked up. I didn’t want to get stuck in a crazy lineup with a three-day wait, so I knew it was best to go early and in the day time… which meant going on my own.

(With the three kids, if that wasn’t abundantly clear.)

I decided to be brave and just do it. I ended up not getting a call to work on Thursday, so I secretly booked the kids off school and told them we were going to skip and go see Santa that morning after breakfast. They were beyond excited. The wait between our 7:30am breakfast and the mall opening at 10 was excruciating. By 8:30am H had asked me if it was time to go yet so many times that I threatened to cancel the trip if he asked again.

..which he did 5 minutes later.

(I didn’t cancel the trip. I did go and hide in the bathroom for a few minutes to escape the barrage of questions.)

I wanted to be there just as the mall opened to try and avoid a long line-up, so I made sure we were ready early and walking in just before 10. Most stores were just rolling up their gates and opening the doors as my Santa loving entourage rolled through. I was armed with a bag full of snacks, toys and a charged phone with Netflix at the ready. We walked toward Santa’s castle, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the back of the line was empty. We walked in, and realized that we were the only ones there. We walked straight to the doors of the castle and were greeted by a cheery Mrs. Claus, who ushered us right in to see Santa.

S ran right over to see him, and H was completely awestruck. He quietly went and sat next to him, but was almost overwhelmed by the fact that he was sitting next to Santa. His eyes were like saucers just trying to take it all in. P was happy to give Santa a fist bump, but when I moved to bring him to the chair for the photo, he wasn’t having any of it. He started to cry and clung to me for dear life. I started to prep for either a photo with me in it, or another one with him crying (like last year’s).

But instead of hurrying us, Santa started speaking to him in a soft, gentle voice. He asked me if I was in a hurry, and when I replied that I wasn’t, he told me that neither was he. He spent a few minutes going through the magazine S brought, letting her describe the Barbie house she has her heart set on for Christmas. He then turned to H, who was still sitting in quiet awe, and talked to him about the Robin Motorcycle and Blue Batcave he is hoping to find under the tree.

(…while I sat on the floor and wondered where on earth we would find a BLUE Batcave in the next few weeks.)

As P watched Santa quietly interact with his siblings, he began to venture over a little closer. First he gave Santa a high five, then showed him his toy, and finally crawled up on his knee while Santa helped him open a candy cane. No one rushed us, no one made us feel like they just wanted our money and it was honestly the best Santa experience I’ve ever had. This man was magical with my kids. He was so gentle and kind and seemed to respond to each of my kids’ different personalities. He spent almost 15 minutes with my children, and we got a beautiful photo and hugs from Santa. No one was traumatized and all three were so happy.

Honestly, it was… perfect. I was so nervous to take all three on my own, but the staff was amazing, the kids were such champs, and because we went when we did, there were no line-ups. After we left with our crowns and candy canes, I browsed around the mall with all the kids for the first time ever. We went in a few stores, found a little play place where they could run and stretch their legs, went and bought some new tea (!!!) and rode the glass elevator a few times.

It sounds so silly as I write it, but it was such a confidence boost for me. I took all three out to a mall and we all survived. Better than that, it reaffirmed to me how amazing my kids are. Sure, they’re a handful sometimes, but they can also listen to instructions, respect boundaries, be kind to one another and wait patiently. It was such a great morning that I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again… and small as that may seems, it feels like a big accomplishment to me.

We made a stop for some french fries on our way home, then spent the afternoon watching Christmas movies. I’m so glad that I’m able to do this with my kids… I love my job, but I also love having the flexibility to be able to take a spur of the moment “home day” to go do something fun.

So, thank you Santa… you not only brought magic into my children’s lives, but you gave me a little something too. And for that, I am really so grateful. <3

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