Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Last Magic Christmas

Have you heard of NaBloPoMo? I hadn't either until a few days ago. It is a 30 day writing challenge to get you in the practice of writing. Prompts are provided as a guide if you choose to use them.  SOOO, here we go, I am going to try this thing out. Because I am a few days late in joining, I am going to use yesterday's prompt: Your favorite holiday memory

Remember the first time you realized there might not be a Santa Claus? Your older sibling, in the middle of an argument, blurts out that Santa isn't real, or you had that one friend at school that seemed older and wiser and she said matter-of-factly that he does not exist, because she found her presents tucked away behind some coats in a closet.  You got that little flutter of panic in your chest and a sick feeling in your stomach.  I was probably in the third or fourth grade when I stopped believing. I had my suspicions.  When Santa brought me a pair of roller skates, and forgot to cut off the tag inside the box that held the skates together, I knew the truth.

This is the story of my older sister's last "magic" Christmas.

She was nine or ten and teetering on the edge of not beleiving. I am sure having three younger sisters helped facilitate the desire to believe. Feeling like you know the biggest secret of them all, that Santa, the granter of wishes, the supreme being who you try and try and try to be good for all year long, might not really be real?!  Well, that is a big burden to bear for a nine year old girl.

It was Christmas Eve. She and I shared a room. We scrambled into our beds. Our red night gowns snapping with static as we wiggled under our sheets. Our hair was wrapped up in pink sponge curlers, and it was difficult to get comfortable on the pillow.  Add in the Christmas Eve excitement and sleep was almost impossible. The top of my bed was up against a window.  Under that window, the black roof of the family room downstairs jutted out into the back yard. In our room, the bottom half of the windows were covered with brown wooden shutters that folded back on hinges. I would lie down, tilt my head back and look up through the closed slats of those shutters, at the alternating lines of wood and purple night sky. That night, as I was looking up, trying to go to sleep, snowflakes started to fall. I happily closed my eyes, thinking that the snow would help Santa and his reindeer on their journey.

I am sure the Christmas morning routine in our house was very similar to yours. The kids wake up, one or more wakes up the parents. Mom and Dad go downstairs to "check everything out". Our Mom would turn on Christmas music, and turn on the lights on the tree.  We would perch eargerly on the top step of the stairs waiting for the OK to run down. Dad would be at the bottom of the stairs with a camera.

This paticular Christmas morning was different. I woke up, I looked outside to see how much it had snowed. And right there, on the roof under my window, in the freshly fallen snow, REINDEER TRACKS! REAL REINDEER TRACKS! My sister climbed onto my bed. Our breath fogged up the window as we pressed our noses against the cold glass in awe.  Santa had been to our house!  She knew it! She knew there was real a Santa. There was no other explantion for the tracks. She was relieved, so relieved. We rushed into our parents' room to tell them about our discovery.  It was even harder than normal to sit still as we sat on that top step, waiting for the OK sign to come downstairs. We had PROOF that Santa had come.

That Christmas, you could feel the magic.  I felt it, I can still feel it when I think about it. My sister can too. It was just enough magic to make my sister believe for one more year. That was her last magic Christmas. The tracks on the roof must have been from a squirrel or raccoon, but to us they were from real live reindeer. We didn't bother to count them, or take notice of their size, or look for marks from a sleigh.  My mom and dad both have commented on the magic that Christmas and how the timing was just perfect.

I imagine it is a sad milestone for a parent when their child no longer beleives. I am still several years from that experience.  I hope, man do I hope, that I can make that same kind of magic happen just once for my kids.


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